[ trip-uh-foh-bee-uh ]


  1. an irrational or disproportionate feeling of discomfort or revulsion at the sight of clustered holes or bumps, as seen in sponges, honeycombs, certain seed pods, soap bubbles, and bubbles in batter: although not officially recognized as a specific phobia, trypophobia is a subject of ongoing psychiatric research.

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Other Words From

  • tryp·o·pho·bic adjective noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of trypophobia1

First recorded in 2005–10; from Greek trŷp(a) “hole” + -o- ( def ) + -phobia ( def )


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More About Trypophobia

What does trypophobia mean?

Trypophobia is a word for the strong feeling of discomfort or revulsion at the sight of tiny holes or bumps.

People who report this feeling are repulsed by things like the tiny seeds on strawberries, small bubbles in batter or soap foam, and the clusters of small holes in things like sponges and seed pods. Trypophobia is a relatively recent word that’s still very rarely used except by those whom it affects. It’s not officially recognized as a mental disorder.

Example: A lot of people like intricate patterns with tiny details, but for a person with trypophobia, the patterns may trigger feelings of extreme disgust.

Where does trypophobia come from?

The first records of trypophobia come from the early 2000s. The word is formed from the Greek trŷpa, meaning “hole,” and phobia, meaning “fear of.” It follows the same pattern as many words for specific phobias, such as arachnophobia (fear of spiders).

Trypophobia is not currently considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is because it has not been found to cause fear that impairs or prevents a person from living their everyday life. But there has been growing awareness around the term, with many people in online communities identifying as having such aversions. Researchers have proposed different theories about why such reactions might happen. Some trace it to natural fear of dangerous animals whose appearance includes things like clusters of bumps or patterns of small circles. Other scientists theorize that trypophobia stems from an aversion to diseases like smallpox that leave the body covered with spots or sores.

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What are some other forms related to trypophobia?

  • trypophobic (adjective)

What are some words that share a root or word element with trypophobia

What are some words that often get used in discussing trypophobia?

How is trypophobia used in real life?

Like many very specific phobias, trypophobia is relatively unknown except by those whom it affects. Many people who identify as experiencing it describe it as a strong feeling, but not a fully fledged phobia that impairs their daily life.



Try using trypophobia!

True or False?

Trypophobia is officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder.