Weird phobias you didn't know about (Photo: iStock)

A phobia can be loosely defined as an extreme fear of something. While most of us can say we're afraid of common things like heights, a phobia is a much more intense fear that can cause panic attacks and other real physical symptoms.

Most phobias are related to a traumatic event, an embarrassing situation in the past or a condition that makes someone hypersensitive to certain things. There's a common list of phobias you've probably heard of, but the ones below are downright bizarre:

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

If you’re having a hard time reading this word, don’t worry, I can’t say it either. This is interestingly the fear of long words which is so ironic because the word itself is long and can barely be pronounced by most people.

With this fear, someone might feel intense anxiety around long words maybe because they are afraid of mispronouncing them and getting embarrassed. Also in some cases, this can be connected to people who have conditions like dyslexia.

Chorophobia

We all know one or two people who can’t dance to save their lives but chances are, they’re not intensely afraid of dancing. An intense fear of dancing is called chorophobia and for these people, the thought of dancing can trigger a full panic attack.

Chorophobes spiral into thinking that everyone is starring at them for their bad dance moves but in reality, the person dancing next to them is probably just as bad and having a great time anyway!

Aurophobia
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Another weird phobia you’ve probably never heard of is aurophobia, which is the fear of gold. This one must be extremely rare because if we all heard there is gold right outside our doorsteps we’d be running to get it without hesitating.

With this fear, seeing gold, touching it or even thinking about it is uncomfortable. Some people even say that it reminds them of death so they probably won’t be too excited about being around gold or any other objects that resemble gold probably ever.

Alektorophobia

Roosters and hens can sometimes mean mug you but most of the time they’re pretty harmless. However, that’s not how alektorophobes see it because, for them, these birds are creatures from their worst nightmare.

This phobia is a bit odd because they’re not afraid of other birds necessarily. The sight of a rooster or hen including drawings of these birds can cause people with this phobia to start panicking.

Venustraphobia

Attractive women can be intimidating but people with venustraphobia take it to a whole new level. They panic at the thought of approaching a beautiful woman, talking to her or even something as basic as looking at her.

This phobia might come as a result of a bad experience with a pretty woman in the past. They might have been painfully teased, abused or hurt, and those feelings developed into a much deeper fear over time.

Others suggest that another root cause of this problem is media conditioning where attractive women are often portrayed as ruthless and hostile.