For instance trichomania is a love of hair, and trichophobia is a fear of hair. But what suffix would denote a loathing of hair?

Edit: Maybe I'm looking at the wrong end of the word, and I should be considering the prefix "miso-".

  • 5
    I think -phobia (which isn't a suffix, by the way) is what you're looking for. Would you claim that homophobia is the fear of homosexuals rather than loathing? Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 16:35
  • 3
    @ArmenTsirunyan: I would say that homophobia literally refers to the fear of homosexuals. However, it has come to be used to refer to those who exhibit hatred or loathing for homosexuals, based on the implicit assumption that such loathing is necessarily rooted in fear. Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 16:50
  • I think it's just "too localised" to ask for a suffix meaning loathing rather than fear. Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 16:52
  • @NateEldredge: For a lot of things, extreme irrational fear (one that could be called a phobia) cannot come without loathing and vice versa. You can't not loathe something if you're irrationally afraid of it. Example: can you imagine an arachnophobic person, who just loves spiders but experiences great fear before them? Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 16:56
  • 6
    @ArmenTsirunyan: I disagree that fear and loathing necessarily come hand-in-hand. (For one thing, it would make Hunter S. Thompson's title a redundancy.) Many people enjoy horror movies precisely because they are frightening. Conversely, I strongly dislike eating runny eggs and find them disgusting; by Merriam-Webster's definition, I loathe them. But I certainly don't fear them. I will agree that there is often a connection, but to consider the two to be synonymous goes too far. Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 17:09

12 Answers 12


With apologies in advance, I offer the following neologism: -odiumic, derived from odium, "quality that provokes hatred; offensiveness" (from Latin odium) plus ic, "used to form adjectives from nouns with the meaning 'of or pertaining to'". Note, it may be that -odious, a suffix carefully derived from odious by prefixing a hyphen, would work better; odious means "arousing or meriting strong dislike, aversion, or intense displeasure." The table below presents some relevant combinations for comparison and gnashing of teeth upon.

  • hirsuodiumic, hirsuodious - after hirsute, from Latin hirsūtus (“shaggy, hairy”).
  • dasuodiumic, dasuodious - after dasypygal, hairy-bottomed, from Greek δασύς (dasus, “hairy, dense”)
  • criniodiumic, criniodious - after crinose, hairy, from Latin crinis hair.
  • comaodiumic, comaodious - after Latin comatus, "having long hair." (Note spelling difference between comaodious and commodious.)
  • trichoodiumic, trichoodious - after trichology, "science or study of hair", from Greek τριχ (trich), root of θρίξ (thrix, “hair”) + -λογια

A concern I have with -odious is it may mean causing dislike, rather than (like -odiumic) being of dislike. For example, while hirsuodiumic may be interpreted as "of disliking hairiness", hirsuodious might mean "causing dislike of hairiness". A second concern, which I will leave to you, is determining which stem to use, with subconcerns of whether to mix Greek and Latin forms and of which stems more connote hair itself vs hairiness.

  • 5
    But it's made-up!
    – slim
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 17:41
  • 1
    @jwpat7 maybe, but even then there's a distinction to be made between recently minted neologisms in current use, and neologisms invented specifically for the purpose of answering the question.
    – slim
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:15
  • 1
    I downvoted because "odiumic" looks badly formed to me. Normally, the suffix "-ic" is not just slapped on the end of a noun from Greek or Latin. It should be attached to the appropriate stem. Compare gymnasium/gymnastic, aquarium/aquatic.
    – herisson
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 20:35
  • 1
    Don't you think that this answer should be deleted? Candidate words (especially with no pedigree at all) hardly match the usage requirement, and much has been written about the effect that unreliable answers has on the credibility of the site. Commented Apr 28, 2018 at 18:56
  • 2
    OK, I'll spell it out. As @nohat says, 'While I'm not entirely opposed to “single word requests” I get pretty anxious when I see questions like this one, where there is (to my knowledge) no real answer, and then people take this as an invitation to start coining words. I really don't feel comfortable at all with our site becoming a place where people go who want a word invented.... I think we will rapidly lose our reputation as a place where people can get authoritative answers if many answers are not authoritative but just merely inventive.' I'd add that 'neologism' means 'accepted ... Commented May 2, 2018 at 0:36

I believe the best option would be -misia, which would be a Greek-derived suffix meaning "hatred of". Some people are setting precedents for this usage around the Internet, e.g. "logomisia". As far as I know, this suffix is related to the root used in "misanthrope" and "misandry" and "misogyny". Also, "trichomisia" sounds much better than "tricho-o-[anything]" to my ears.


Initially, words ending in -phobia referred to an irrational fear of something, but it was later generalized so as to include the feeling of aversion. So you could use -phobia to describe an aversion to something, too.

  • 1
    I would accept this, but this doesn't work where the '-phobia' is already medically defined, as per my trichophobia example, and I feel there must be some way of making the distinction.
    – nick3216
    Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 19:27
  • @nick3216 - How about -odiumic; eg hirsuodiumic, dasuodiumic, criniodiumic, comaodiumic, trichoodiumic, and so forth. Of course they all sound just awful :) Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 8:26
  • @jwpat - I won;t even pretend to know what -diumic means, but if it allows the distinction I would accept tha as the answer
    – nick3216
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 8:58
  • 1
    @nick3216 - -odiumic, a neologism from the word odium, "Hatred; dislike; as, 'his conduct brought him into odium', or, 'brought odium upon him'; The quality that provokes hatred; offensiveness." Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 9:00
  • 1
    This only holds true in very rarefied segments of the English speaking population. Much of the population has no conception or outright reject this Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 1:09

People only started using -phobia to define feelings of hate or dislike toward something in the middle of the 20th century (1950-1960), and is, itself, a neologism. I suspect that the origin of its use in this manner was at least partially political, because it makes the resultant word sound like a psychological disorder.

As has been said above, the opposite of philos is misein, not phobos, and the use of another word is incorrect and misleading. Medically, -phobe can describe an aversion, but that is already a distortion. Taking it further is simply a bad use of language or a tactical feint (still an improper use, but attended by a reason other than ignorance; a worse crime). If you want to say a person hates something we have a word in the English language that covers it: hate.

I have no problems with coining a word, I just think it shouldn't be frivolous.

  • Hydrophobia goes back to at least 1547, penphobia to 1803, dustophobia to 1824, cyclophobia to 1896, L.C.C.-phobia to 1902.
    – Hugo
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 10:37
  • 1
    @Hugo I think the point Celiafate is making is that the modern interpretation of phobia, a strong dislike, is used incorrectly. The fact that phobia existed prior to 20th century is not in discussion.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 12:28

The use of -phobia as a suffix just feels wrong. It's too firmly associated (in my mind, at least) with an irrational aversion to or fear of something. The modern usage of the suffix (homophobia, islamophobia and so forth) seems too contrived, and it jars each time I hear it. I don't fear homosexuals. I like some people and dislike others but my antipathy is based on factors other than their sexuality.

Unfortunately there are some people whose antipathies towards other people are based on the sexuality of those people, so a suffix denoting that is required. Ditto the other words where -phobia doesn't really cut the mustard.

If a correct suffix isn't readily to hand, neither in English nor Greek nor Serbo-Croatian, I don't see anything wrong with making one up. For example, homovilic, using vilify to form the suffix. The difficulty is that the current abusage is too firmly entrenched for anything else to become established.

  • Homovilic doesn't sound any better to me.
    – herisson
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 20:37

English really doesn’t have much in the way of affective suffixes. One might argue that ‑ette is one such, but that serves several functions, not just one of positive affect. It often serves only to create a feminine version of something, not a smaller or cuter version, like bachelorette, jockette — but ovenette, diskette for smaller versions. For feminines, you might get more traction out of ‑ess as in heiress, or ‑ine as in heroine.

I can’t think of any suffixes in English that work for negative affect, to say that we don’t like something. Spanish has a pretty rich set of augmentative and pejorative suffixes, like ‑ón/ona, ‑aco/a, ‑azo/a, ‑ote/a ‑ajo/a, but I don’t think English works that way. You just have to sneer, I guess.


Upon reading other comments, you seem to be asking not for a suffix but rather for a combining form. Here are examples of prefixes, suffixes, and combining forms.

  • Prefixes: a‑, ad‑, allo‑, be‑, co‑, di‑, dia‑, dys‑, en‑, ex‑, fore‑, giga‑, hyper‑, hypo‑, il‑, im‑, in‑, mal‑, mis‑, meta‑, non‑, ob‑, over‑, peri‑, self‑, syn‑, trans‑, ultra‑, un-, and vice‑.
  • Suffixes: ‑a, ‑able, ‑aceous, ‑acity, ‑ade, ‑age, ‑ality, ‑ance, ‑ature, ‑bility, ‑ble, ‑by, ‑cade, ‑cula, ‑cy, ‑dom, ‑dyne, ‑ed, ‑elle, ‑en, ‑ence, ‑ent, ‑ergic, ‑ery, ‑esce, ‑esque, ‑ful, ‑fy, ‑head, ‑hood, ‑ial, ‑ian, ‑ible, ‑ic, ‑ide, ‑iety, ‑ify, ‑ing, ‑ise, ‑istic, ‑ium, ‑ive, ‑ization, ‑ize, ‑izing, ‑less, ‑ling, ‑lite, ‑ly, ‑ment, ‑most, ‑ness, ‑ode, ‑oon, ‑orium, ‑otic, ‑our, ‑ous, ‑plex, ‑ploid, ‑some, ‑speak, ‑th, ‑trix, ‑tude, ‑ty, ‑type, ‑ula, ‑ulum, ‑ure, and ‑wick.
  • Combining forms: ‑archy, ‑babble, bi‑, ‑cardia, ‑cephalic, ‑cline, ‑cole, ‑colous, ‑core, ‑cratic, ‑cratical, ‑culture, culturo‑, cyber‑, ‑dactyl, ‑derm, dictyo‑, digi‑, ‑ennial, femto‑, ‑form, Franken‑, ‑gamous, ‑graphical, ‑haemia/‑hemia, ‑hedron, ‑iad, ichno‑, ‑iform, ‑ifuge, ‑kinesis, ‑lepsy, ‑lingual, ‑lithic, ‑logical, manu‑, ‑max, Mc‑, ‑meter, ‑morphic, morpho‑, muci‑, myco‑, nano‑, ‑nomial, ‑ocratic, ‑odont, ‑onym, oscillo‑, paedo‑/pedo‑, ‑path, ‑ped, pico‑, ‑scape, ‑sophy, syn‑, ‑tactic, teleo‑, Teuto‑, thely‑, ‑therm, ‑thetic, ‑trope, ‑trophy, ‑uretic, vagi‑, ‑valent, were‑, ‑wise, xylo‑, yester‑, ‑zoa, ‑zoic, and zoo‑.
  • Ah, yes. -path might work. Trichopath?
    – nick3216
    Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 21:18
  • No, that is "a disease of the hair".
    – nick3216
    Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 21:19

Simply put, English isn't built like that, with logical rules that always apply. What tends to happen is words are "coined" and enter general usage where they are sufficiently distinct so that a wide group of people adopt them. That way the language is able to distinguish between the dislike and allergic aversion:

Here are examples of words that have been formed in this way to denote "loathing"

Xenophobia - Dislike of foreigners

Homophobia - Dislike of homosexuals/homosexuality

Gynophobia - Dislike of females (although male chauvinism is more commonly used)

Androphobia - Dislike of males

Anglophobia - Dislike of English things

See this link for many more examples

  • 1
    I've heard the word "misogyny" way more than "gynophobia" which I don't think I've actually ever heard prior to today.
    – Magnus
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 17:06

It's clear from the erudite responses that we don't have a good answer. The question is important, because -phobic/-phobia has been used politically to imply that the aversion is irrational. The psychiatric phobias (agoraphobia, arachnophobia, triskeidecophobia, etc.) are clearly defined as irrational fears, so the invention of words to label someone's political aversion as homophobia, or Islamophobia, or xenophobia was clearly a political propaganda move to imply that the aversion is irrational.

-odiumic is a great suggestion, if only we could get it into common usage. I've been using -aversive, not because it's a real word, but because people can readily understand it. But we need something. Great thread!

  • 6
    Welcome to ELU.SE. However, this isn't a discussion forum, and this "thread" isn't a thread: it's a question and several answers, which have been voted on as people found them useful. Please take a moment on the Tour and Answering as well as the other topics in the sidebar on that page.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Apr 8, 2017 at 18:17
  • I think -aversive is a decent enough suggestion for an answer. Could you expand on that with some examples of how you use it, or how you’ve seen it used?
    – Pam
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 16:48

Although -phobia is typically associated with fear, it is also used to talk about a dislike. Homophobia is therefore equally applied to a dislike of homosexuals (the more common usage) as the fear of them.

In some cases -pathy can also be used, as in antipathy.

Additionally, mis-, as in misanthropy or misogyny.

Still, phobia is the correct ending.

  • As above this doesn't work where the '-phobia' is already medically defined, as per my trichophobia example, and I feel there must be some way of linguistically making the distinction.
    – nick3216
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 10:24
  • "I feel there must be some way of" - but, tough luck, there isn't. If there were, then we'd be using homo[suffix] and xeno[suffic] instead of homophobia and xenophobia.
    – slim
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 16:34

"-agnosis" is an appropriate suffix for being ignorant about something, and is far more appropriate in descrbing people who loathe something because they are ignorant (or, "un-knowing") about it. In regards to the general lack of understanding non-gays have about non-heterosexuals, it is a very appropriate suffix ... and the toot of most fear and prejudice is being ignorant, not being hateful. The word "homophobic" doesn't even mean "afraid of homosexuals" -- it means "afraid of men". To describe someone who is uninformed or ignorant about men who prefer men as sexual partners, a far better word is "arsenokoítagnostic" ... quite a mouthful, I admit. But, a word tgat long might keep folks from bandying it about needlessly, stupidly, or as a weapon. In very close translation, it means "unknowing about men who lie in bed with other men".


Per Notre Dame English to Latin dictionary: contemptus, contemptus (also contemtus) N M 4 1 M [XXXCO]
contempt/scorn/despising (act/state); ignominy; disregard; object of contempt;

Contemptic/contemtic perhaps?

Per Notre Dame: aspernatio, aspernationis N F 3 1 F [XXXEO]
contempt; spurning; rejection of; aversion to;



Perhaps a good choice would be to borrow from modern German, where -hass (hatred) is actually used instead of -angst (fear) for many words. Xenophobia is Fremdenhass, not Fremdenangst (which is why it isn't recognised by spell checkers, by the way).

Some examples of actual German words:

  • Fremdenhass (xenophobia)
  • Schwulenhasser (a homophobic person)
  • Frauenhasser (a misogynist)
  • Menschenhasser (a misanthrope)

There is also the suffix -feindlich which means "hostile", such as in fremdenfeindlich (anti-foreigners), muslimfeindlich (anti-Islam), frauenfeindlich (misogynistic), Amerika-feindlich (hostile to Americans) and so on. It might be best if you want an adjective.

As a side bonus, it lends itself well to the old chestnut of saying something "sounds better in the original German" if you so desire.

  • 1
    (1) I’m not sure this is really a valid answer to a question about English. (We generally frown on answers that invent words when the question doesn’t explicitly ask for that.)  (2) You could clarify your answer by saying what ‘‘feind’’ (and ‘‘-lich’’) mean in German. Please do not respond in comments; edit your answer to make it clearer and more complete. Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 1:33
  • Note that English has a long history of borrowing from its sister language. From such old examples as Angst and Sturm und Drang to more modern uses like Schadenfreude. Whether borrowing from the Greeks, the Romans, the Germans or any other language is, well, one of the hallmarks of English. We appropriate entire vocabularies.
    – Fnordius
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 12:58

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.