[Ads-l] Santaphobia

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 11 16:57:45 EST 2016

Today, _Vice_ is running an article by Emalie Marthe titled “Why Kids Are Unreasonably Terrified of Santa Claus” (http://bit.ly/2gtvmjB <http://bit.ly/2gtvmjB>).

I had never thought about this before, but it makes sense given how widespread coulrophobia is.

The online Oxford Dictionaries do not have “Santaphobia.”

Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Santaphobia <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Santaphobia>) has it to 1997, labeling it as humorous.

1. The first occurrence I see in Google Books is December 1908 in an article by Henry Goodwin Smith in the magazine _The Unitarian_. It refers to taking the joy out of Christmas by not advocating for the existence of Santa Claus, however, not a fear such as coulrophobia.
goo.gl/0WUCXv <http://goo.gl/0WUCXv>

Santaphobia is a symptom of a defective imagination, not of a superior conscience.

2. The next appearance and the first with the modern meaning I see in Google Books is 1985 or 1986, in a play (http://bit.ly/2hjlBEo <http://bit.ly/2hjlBEo>), author and title unknown. It is cited in _The Best Plays of 1985-1986_.

… memories are of his sister Phyllis crying in terror at the ... that Father Christmas might barge into her room. “Santaphobia” is his term for it.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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