Jan 13, 200608:01 AMThe Life
Jan 13, 2006 - 08:01 AM...first appeared in 1911, formed from the Greek "treiskaideka" (thirteen) and "phobos" (fear). Eight decades later, some fear-obsessed shrink coined "paraskevidekatriaphobia" (although Word Spy implies that it might have been stolen from an earlier usage) using the Greek "paraskevi" (Friday), "dekatria" (thirteen? again? those wacky Greeks need two words for 13?) and the standard workhorse "phobos." Then there's "friggatriskaidekaphobia" ("Friday" comes from "Frigga," the ancient Scandinavian fertility and love goddess).
But why do these people want to pretend their new words have instant credibility, by using obscure foreign roots? Let's just get rid of those weird un-American terms, and rely on good ol' homebrewed derivations that everybody can understand: "fearofnewwordsaboutfridaythethirteenth."
Break a leg!