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 The Diary of a Word Nerd

  • Writer's pictureGrace Kidder

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Halloween is my favorite holiday, so of course I had to share a spooky-themed word today. Costumes, candy, and classic Halloween movies—what's not to love? Now, let me be clear: when I say classic Halloween movies I'm talking about films like Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas, not Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street. I love Halloween, but I am NOT a fan of being scared. Sort of strange, I know, but what can you do?

If you're a person with nyctophobia, you probably don't enjoy being scared either, but your biggest fear would be being locked in a dark room. The word "nyctophobia" comes from the Greek "nyx," which means night. A lot of children are afraid of the dark, but nyctophobia goes beyond this childhood aversion to the pitch-black unknown. As its name suggests, it is an extreme, oftentimes irrational fear (phobia). Because of this, the term is generally used in reference to adults, rather than children.

I hope I didn't scare you away with this week's word! Have a safe and spooky Halloween, everyone!

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