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A phobia is a strong, persistent fear, deemed to be irrational. It is also a word used less strictly for lesser aversions or to describe negative attitudes and prejudices.
Examples range from normal fears such as claustrophobia 'fear of enclosed places' and arachnophobia 'fear of spiders' to the unusual and downright spectacular fears such as Euphobia 'fear of hearing good news' and Ithyphallophobia 'fear of having an erect penis'.
Phobias can include practically any situation or object or group of people and are sometimes used within domination and submission or sadomasochism to either psychologically strengthen someone or to victimise them.