I was interested to learn that hemophilia does not refer to the sexual fetish for blood, but a desiese. The fetish is called hemeotolagnia. This has me wondering, why do most words that refer to fetishes use the suffix -philia, but some use -lagnia?

Examples here: English terms suffixed with -lagnia

Is there a known etymological reason for this?

  • 1
    It's spelled disease
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 21, 2023 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


-philia and -lagnia are two suffixes both coming from Greek. They are used sometimes artificially, to coin new words. This was the case of hemophilia:

1848 (also sometimes in Englished form hæmophily), from German hämophile, coined 1828 by German physician Johann Lucas Schönlein (1793-1864), from Greek haima "blood, bloodshed, streams of blood" (see -emia) + philia "to love" (see -philia), here with a sense of "tendency to."

-philia is a

word-forming element meaning "friendship, fondness, tendency toward," and in recent use "abnormal attraction to," from Greek philia "affection," from philos "loving," (Etymonline)

Note that the meaning abnormal attraction to is labelled as recent.

As for -lagnia it was used to show exacerbated desire, lust, rather than simply love for something. For example: Algolagnia was coined in German in 1892 by German doctor and paranormalist Albert von Schrenck-Notzing (1862-1929) from Greek algos "pain" + lagneia "lust," from lagnein "to lust" and refers to fetishizing violence and pain out of lust (Etymonline)

Note that algophilia is also used but with a slightly different meaning:

a morbid pleasure in the pain either of oneself or of others.

So -lagnia is to -philia what lust is to pleasure.

In your case, the word with -lagnia (which is hematolagnia by the way, careful with your spelling) may have been coined in order to differentiate the psychological disorder from the organic disease (hemophilia), where -philia means to have a tendency to.

  • Wiktionary has a list of -lagnia words and a lot of them seem to have similar -philia terms e.g. urolagnia/urophilia, zoolagnia/zoophilia (maybe not something to search for at work). So in many cases you can use either.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 21, 2023 at 9:53
  • @StuartF Yes, in many cases. The OP has found one of the few cases when the two words are differentiated in meaning through the suffixes.
    – fev
    Feb 21, 2023 at 10:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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