noun[mass noun] rare
- Despite its name, there's nothing ‘cool’ about coulrophobia, or ‘fear of clowns’ for the psychiatric layperson.
- And if he has coulrophobia are they going to have him interrogated by a bunch of guys in clown suits?
- I'm writing an article on coulrophobia and scary clowns for my Feature Writing class at university.
1980s: from Greek kolobatheron 'stilt' + -phobia.
clown from mid 16th century:
The earliest recorded uses of clown means ‘an unsophisticated country person’. Before long it was being applied to any rude or ill-mannered person, and by 1600 the word was also being used to refer to the character of a fool or jester in a stage play, from which the comic entertainer in a circus developed. For some reason quite a few people seem to be afraid of clowns, and a word for the condition has been coined coulrophobia. The first element was borrowed from a Greek word for a stilt-walker, clowns not being known in the classical world.
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