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Meaning of 'chromohydrophobic' explored as unusual condition goes viral

Eve Edwards June 27, 2022
Meaning of 'chromohydrophobic' explored as unusual condition goes viral
Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images


It’s natural for the big wide world to frighten us humans, but when specific phobias of the everyday emerge, some are curious as to their origins.

Arachnophobia, aviophobia, and acrophobia are all some of the most common phobias for humans. It’s understandable; eight-legged spiders are alien in form, and being above ground height feels unnatural to many earth dwellers.

But phobias that have roots in the everyday are more of a mystery. How, and why, would one be scared of specific numbers or colours, or actions such as opening their eyes (optophobia)?

As a newly ‘diagnosed’ phobia makes the rounds on the internet, you might be curious as to the meaning behind ‘chromohydrophobic’.

Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Video creator claims to be ‘chromohydrophobic’ and sends the internet in a spin

This June a TikTok video has gone viral in which the creator claims to be ‘chromohydrophobic’.

In the video, created by @doodledoodledavey, he tries out “drinks other than water or milk for the first time in (his) life.”

We can hear Davey in the video explaining he has ‘chromohydrophobia’ and has never had a sip of colourful drinks as displayed in the experimental video. Davey goes on to take sips of classic sodas such as Gatorade, Mountain Dew, Fanta, Dr Pepper, lemonade and a blue slushie.

For someone who has never drunk any beverage but water or milk before, Davey’s reactions to such sugary drinks are pretty understandable.


I’ve been chromohydrophobic for as long as I can remember. #drpepper #fanta #funny #fyp

♬ original sound – doodledoodledavey
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What is the meaning of ‘chromohydrophobic’?

The diagnostic nomenclature of phobias uses mainly Greek, so to find out the meaning of ‘chromohydrophobic’, we can assess its translation.

‘Chromo-‘, or ‘chrom-‘, is a prefix meaning ‘colour’. This is in relation to the colourful drinks Davey states he can’t drink in the viral video.

However, there is an error in Davey’s diagnoses. ‘Hydrophobic’ is not usually used as a term to define fear of water; instead, ‘aquaphobic’ is used. This is as hydrophobic is a terminology used in biology and other sciences to define a substance that is repellant or resistant to water, such as oil.

‘Hydrophobia’ is defined as an aversion to water, however it is associated with the development of rabies.

The term ‘chromohydrophobic’ is not an official term but one used by the TikTok user to define his fear of drinking coloured beverages. It is not known where the term originated. ‘Chromoaquaphobic’ would be a more appropriate name given the use of ‘hydrophobic’ in biology.

So, is it a real condition?

There are a number of diagnosed phobias related to drinking different beverages but ‘chromohydrophobic’ is not defined as one. That is not, however, to state the condition isn’t real for those who fear drinking anything other than clear or neutral-coloured beverages.

Some of the defined phobias related to drinking colourful drinks includes ‘anapsytikophobia’, which is a fear of soft drinks or sodas. This fear has its roots in the unnatural nature of sodas, which can relate to its colours but also underlying health problems some relate to drinking soda.

‘Dipsophobia’ is a fear of drinking alcohol. Sufferers have similar fears of the health effects that come with consuming alcohol.

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More unusual phobias take over the internet

This isn’t the first case of a phobia dominating the internet space as the past few years have shed light on some unusual conditions, legitimate or otherwise.

A number of publications have compiled their lists of the most bizarre phobias some humans face, but here are some of our favourites at The Focus:

  • Arachibutyrophobia: fear of having peanut butter stick to the roof of your mouth.
  • Omphalophobia: fear of belly buttons.
  • Papaphobia: fear of the pope.
  • Pogonophobia: fear of beards.
  • Venustraphobia: fear of beautiful women.

The list goes on… What are some of your strangest fears? Let us know in the comments!

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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.