Old 04-20-2001, 08:33 PM
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I have been trying to find the opposite term for "phile" as in "friend of" "Phobia" isn't quite right is it? That's more in the nature of "fear" than "hate".
Ailurophobia would be the fear of cats, for example, while a cat of mine went to a vet that ran the "Ailurophile Cat Clinic" Her entire practise was cats! And homophobia is the "fear" of homosexuality, while I presume a homophile would be someone sympathetic to homosexuality. I myself am a chocophile(Hello, my name is Denise, and I am a chocoholic) Any Greek linguists out there?
Old 04-20-2001, 08:49 PM
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phile, as I understand it, is an attraction, not necessarily just a liking. So, yes, phobia would be the opposite, since it is an abnormal fear or aversion.


Let's look 'em up.

A persistent, abnormal, or irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid the feared stimulus.
2. A strong fear, dislike, or aversion.

1. tendency toward
2. abnormal attraction to
Old 04-20-2001, 08:51 PM
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According to Big Blue here (Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged), one of the alternate definitions for -phobic is "having an aversion for"; it then gives the example that immediately came to mind when I was just going to wing this post: photophobia, sensitivity or aversion to light. And can't we say that homophobes probably fear and hate homosexuals?

I think -phobic or -phobia actually do fit your need here, if only in their alternate sense.

And is there such a thing as a chocophobe? I doubt it.
Old 04-20-2001, 09:05 PM
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Well, I'm not a Greek scholar, but maybe I can give a poorly-informed guess that will help get the discussion started.

I also can't think of a true opposite number to the suffix -phile. However, I can think of one example of the same root used as a prefix that does have an opposite.

A philanthrope is a person that likes people. A misanthrope is someone that doesn't like people.

Maybe the the opposite of ailurophile is something like misailurope?
Old 04-20-2001, 09:07 PM
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We get the -phile suffix from the ancient greek philos (to love) and the -phobe from similarly ancient greek phobos (to fear) (cue me greek scholars if that's not quite correct).

In the sense of, say, "audiophile" the 'love' component is not hard to understand, nor is it hard to understand the 'fear' component in "agoraphobe" (fear of being in public places).

But these suffixes are not a black and white love/fear combo. Witness their use in chemistry where we can refer to lipophilic versus lipophobic compounds (fat soluble vs. not fat soluble, IIRC - chem scholars get their shot at me here).

So, I think at times the -phobe suffix just means the opposite of the -phile suffix. A homophobe does not necessarily fear homosexuals; the word I most often hear associated with that term (homophobe) is "loathe" or the opposite of liking homosexuals. Well, that's not the best example (I can hear a GD in there digging its way out).

But, I think you've got your -phobe, -phobic, etc. suffix established as your antithesis to -phile, -philic, etc.
Old 04-20-2001, 09:11 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far. Although I have studied several languages I have no great skill in anything but American English. And it appears my skills in research are not the best either. But I love the angles that have been presented. I wouldn't have thought things out like that. So I guess ignorance HAS been fought a little today.

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