Mental Health

The Real Origins of These 20 Strange Phobias

Xanthophobia: Fear of the color yellow

Know someone who would pretty much rather die than wear yellow? Well, it turns out that it just might be more than a fashion statement for some.

Xantho is Greek for the color yellow, making xanthophobia the fear of yellow. It is a specific fear, which means it develops in childhood, and usually goes away on its own as one grows up; however, if this fear persists, treatment becomes necessary.

Xanthophobia can come from an external event, like a trauma such as being attacked by someone wearing yellow, or internal factors like genetics.

When the phobia does stem from an external factor, some of the most common are getting stung by a bee, or being struck by a yellow car or school bus. The effect is that coming into contact with the color yellow creates a sense of pain and fear. The severity varies, but most with the condition will avoid anything yellow. This means they would not wear gold jewelry, plant yellow flowers like daffodils, read a book that has a yellow cover, or eat any yellow food like mustard, cheese, bananas, etc.

Many believe that the phobia is connected to the fear of the color yellow in China. This started when receiving a yellow scarf was an imperial order to commit suicide.

Xanthophobia is not the only common fear of a color, there is also chromophobia (the fear of colors in general), leukophobia (the fear of the color white), melanophobia (fear of the color black), and porphyrobia (fear of the color purple).