hippophobia and hippophilia

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If hippophobia means "fear of horses", does "hippophilia" mean "being a fan of horses"?

The problem with this is that I found an online dictionary suggesting that "hippophilia" is "love of the hippies", whereas some other sources suggested that it could mean "sexual attraction towards horses".

Still, in other cases, for instance in case of cats, "ailurophile/felinophile" is someone who likes cats, admires them and possibly visits many cat exhibitions, so "-phile/-phillia" with sexual connotations sounds very odd to me.
  • morzh

    The Wikipedia is undecided on that one.

    It may actually be implying sexual attraction.
    Why not with cats?
    Well, cats may not be as much of a sexual attraction for people who practice zoophilia.

    After all, "-philia" simply means "love of", and a Germanophile, for instance, is a person who is fond of German culture, and not sexually attracted to Germans.

    And horses have been know to be objects of some sexually deviant (no offense to zoophiles) attractions.
    Although I am sure, there've been cases with cats too.


    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    ... so "-phile/-phillia" with sexual connotations sounds very odd to me.
    I can immediately think of gerontophile, necrophile, coprophile, paraphilia (fetishism), and - of course - pedophile. All of these are strongly sexual.

    But I can also think of bibliophile, which is just a book lover, not a book lover. There are other examples, too.

    And in biology, the "-phile" ending just means "that seeks out." So animals that like to hang out in the sun are "photophiles."

    The problem with your question is that hippophile is not a word (yet). It definitely means "person who screws horses" in the famous Woody Allen joke. But it hasn't been used enough for usage to decide which of the possibile meanings "-phile" will take in its particular case.


    Senior Member
    English - American
    Horse-lover is frequently used to mean a person who enjoys riding, caring for horses, perhaps racing them, and the like. Sometimes people are described as "horsey" to indicate the same sort of thing: "One of those horsey women..." ( :warning: It can also mean horse-faced which indicates a long, plain face, and is pejorative. Use this with care. Even used to indicate horse-loving it is slightly dismissive - as though people who like horses are slightly crazy.)

    I can't recall ever hearing either of these used to indicate a sexual relationship.


    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    But "horse-lover" is definitely not a correlate of "ailurophile." "Horse-lover" is probably akin to "cat fancier" or "cat person."

    Do you specifically want a "technical-sounding" word, linguos?


    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Probably not - it seems that the suffix -philia directed towards any animal automatically these days implies sexual motivation. Lucas's examples have got the suffix a bad reputation. The exception that remains is people from a particular country.


    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    But: technophile, stereophile, bibliophile... there are lots of non-erotic uses of the -phile suffix as well.

    Maybe the problem is that you can, rather spectacularly, have sex with a horse, but it's more difficult to imagine a book fetishist. So with an animal like a horse that meaning does seem to pop into the mind a bit more dramatically.
    That's right, I was looking for a rather "technical-sounding" word with Greek or Latin roots. It does seem strange to me that there is an accepted word for phobia concerning horses, yet there is no agreement for the opposite case. :D

    Btw, could it be, that the fact that people nowadays (who rarely have any idea about the ancient languages) associate "-philias" with sexual attraction towards some object or animal has something to do with the modern culture which seems to be so obsessed with sex or did the suffix -philia always have such a connotation in general?
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    Senior Member
    English - England
    There is a whole slew of "xxx-phobia" and "xxx-philia" words. The vast majority of them seem to be pure invention or may be have 2 examples in the last 100 years. A huge list of them is here: http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/didyouknow/phobia.asp

    I defy any native speaker to recognise (not work out) more than 5% of them. Who would have thought that a fear of objects at the right side of the body had a word - dextrophobia? When is anyone going to use that?

    To avoid unintended connotations, you would be advised to use "a fear of xxx" "a love of xxx" and a "sexual attraction to xxx"
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