Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Feb 15 18:51:59 UTC 2006

Jesse, the relative currency of "commitment-phobe"  (colloq., I guess) suggests that even now there are people who are starting to see see "phobe" as a separate word.  But the "homophobe" sense is the only one that seems to be current so far.

  Also, if you Google up "KC-97" + "balls to the wall" on the Newsgroups, you'll find a seemingly reliable 1998 account of the phrase's origin.  Multiple airplane throttles are involved, but no "jets" in this case, and no "fighter planes."

  This is the only ex. I found electronically that appears to be both truthful and precise. A Web illustration of a B-36 cockpit in the 1950s shows ball-grip throttles, but none of the B-36 sitemeisters claim outright that the phrase in question was used aboard those planes. Other jet bombers may have been similarly equipped.


Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Jesse Sheidlower
Subject: Re: Phobe

On Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 09:54:55AM -0800, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> 2. Has it (yet) been applied to other "phobics," i.e. xenophobes, "commitment-phobes," etc.

We have a few British examples of it in the sense
"Euro-phobe", i.e. one who opposes British integration into
the EU (etc.), from the mid-1990s onwards.

Jesse Sheidlower

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