Printable Version
Pronunciation: tek-nê-fob-ee-ê Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: The fear of new technology, especially computers.

Notes: I'm surprised that this word hasn't come up as a Good Word. My age group (seniors) contains many technophobes, people who suffer from technophobia. They are technophobic technophobes. Most can operate a mobile phone; after all, it is smaller and simpler. But their fear of more complex computers restricts their interaction with the internet to e-mail. It seems to prefer older victims; my grandchildren have already mastered big computers and little ones. They are growing up in a world where computers are ubiquitous.

In Play: Today's word applies to all forms of technology: "Blanche Dwight gets technophobia just looking at a DVD player, let alone a computer." It is an affliction of ageing and is a variant of the old adage, "You can't teach old dogs new tricks": "Blanche is such a technophobe, she doesn't even do e-mail."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Greek tekhno-, the combining form of tekhne "art, skill, method, system" + phobos "fear, panic, terror" + a noun suffix -ia. The Proto-Indo-European word underlying techno was teks-na- "craft", a suffixed form of root teks- "to weave", which also went into the making of Sanskrit taksan "carpenter," Greek tekton "carpenter", Latin texere "to weave, fabricate", and Russian tkat' "to weave". The past participle of Latin texere was textus "woven, written account", which English borrowed in its second meaning as text. The first meaning was captured in Latin textura "texture", which English borrowed from Old French as texture. Phobos originally meant "flight" and comes from PIE bhegw- "to run, to flee". It also produced Russian begu "I run" and Lithuanian bégu "I run".

Dr. Goodword,

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