Word of the Day for Friday, July 13, 2007
triskaidekaphobia \tris-ky-dek-uh-FOH-bee-uh\, noun:
A morbid fear of the number 13 or the date Friday the 13th.
Thirteen people, pledged to eliminate triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number 13, today tried to reassure American sufferers by renting a 13 ft plot of land in Brooklyn for 13 cents . . . a month.
— Daily Telegraph, January 14, 1967
Past disasters linked to the number 13 hardly help triskaidekaphobics overcome their affliction. The most famous is the Apollo 13 mission, launched on April 11, 1970 (the sum of 4, 11 and 70 equals 85 – which when added together comes to 13), from Pad 39 (three times 13) at 13:13 local time, and struck by an explosion on April 13.
— “It’s just bad luck that the 13th is so often a Friday”, Electronic Telegraph, September 8, 1996
Triskaidekaphobia is from Greek treiskaideka, triskaideka, thirteen (treis, three + kai, and + deka, ten) + phobos, fear.
In Christian countries the number 13 was considered unlucky because there were 13 persons at the Last Supper of Christ. Fridays are also unlucky, because the Crucifixion was on a Friday. Hence a Friday falling on the thirteenth day is regarded as especially unlucky.
Some famous triskaidekaphobes1:
- Herbert Hoover
- Mark Twain
- Richard Wagner
- Franklin Roosevelt
1. Source: “It’s just bad luck that the 13th is so often a Friday,” Electronic Telegraph, September 8, 1996Dictionary.com Entry and Pronunciation for triskaidekaphobia