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I'm intrigued by a hybrid of "agoraphobia" (which would be more accurately referred to as "kenophobia") and "claustrophobia," described by H. P. Lovecraft like this:

Of the celebrated "phobias" of the modern psychologists (or of things like them) I have only one; & that, amusingly enough, is one I have never seen cited or named. Probably it has a name & record, but my very superficial knowledge of psychology (a subject which fails to fascinate me greatly, despite its grotesque fictional possibilities) does not include any glimpse of it. I know about claustrophobia & agoraphobia, but I have neither. I have, however, a cross betwixt the two—in the form of a distinct fear of very large enclosed spaces. The dark carriage-room of a stable—the shadowy interior of a deserted gas-house—an empty assembly-room or theatre-auditorium—a large cave—you can probably get the idea.

So, is there a word for this? A word ending in -phobia that means "fear of very large enclosed spaces"?

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  • Wasn't Lovecraft all about nameless dreads?
    – Stuart F
    Feb 6, 2022 at 1:22
  • 2
    This seems akin to a request about what to call the shortest giant in the world.
    – Robusto
    Feb 6, 2022 at 2:32
  • I would have coined atriophobia from Latin atrium akin to claustrophobia from Latin claustrum.
    – ermanen
    Feb 6, 2022 at 20:07
  • Agoraphobia isn't actually a fear of wide open spaces per se; see this article from the Mayo Clinic.
    – alphabet
    Aug 31, 2023 at 14:56

2 Answers 2

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There is no authentic scientific term for this as yet. It certainly cannot be labeled (the seemingly similar phobia-) Altocelarophobia, which is a fear specifically of high ceilings:

A fear of high ceilings, also known as altocelarophobia, is far more common than we would first expect and many people say that they feel insignificant in such a place or that they are going to float up and away.

The phobic sensation- the fear of floating away- would be unique to a high ceiling and thus could not apply to a general fear of large places.

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Altocelarophobia is the fear of tall ceilings, and large enclosed rooms. It's latin roots are alto (high) and (i think) caelum, which is sky (or ceiling)

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  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Feb 6, 2022 at 0:06
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    Usually phobias use Greek roots. Surely Greek has words for high ceilings.
    – siride
    Feb 6, 2022 at 0:40
  • ...claustrophobia notwithstanding
    – siride
    Feb 6, 2022 at 0:41
  • @siride Not so according to the British NHS which defines it as "an irrational fear of confined spaces" which the OP says they do not suffer from. A large enclosed space is not a confined space although it may contain confined spaces, a large railway station will contain lifts, toilets, train carriages and small offices but there is little or no constraint on the movement of a person in the wider space. It is closer to agorophobia but the space is not open. It genuinely is a third condition in my opinion.
    – BoldBen
    Feb 6, 2022 at 15:37
  • @BoldBen I was just talking about roots.
    – siride
    Feb 6, 2022 at 16:10

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