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Coulrophobia

  • By: Alberto Dionigi
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

The term coulrophobia indicates a persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of clowns. This term has only recently entered into humor research and it has an uncertain etymology. It is composed of two words. The prefix coulro comes from the Ancient Greek klobathrists, which means “one who goes on stilts.” In this case, it is used as a synonym for a clown. The term phobia comes from the Greek φόβος, phóbos, and means “fear.” Phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation that belongs to a specific type of anxiety disorder, and to be diagnosed it needs the presence of certain criteria. Several kinds of phobia exist and according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV-TR), coulrophobia ...

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