Monday, April 3, 2017

Personality Quirks: B is for Bacilophobia

Are you a writer looking for some interesting personality traits and quirks to create characters? Or maybe you’re a logophile, someone who loves words, and wants to collect more of them. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. Reminder: gender neutral pronouns used.

Bacilophobia is a fear of microbes. It is also known as mysophobia, verminophobia, germaphobia, and bacteriophobia.

Monk, the TV detective. Howard Hughes. Sherlock Holmes (maybe). Donald Trump (purportedly). The person who avoids shaking hands. One who carries disinfectant wipes to decontaminate surfaces. A person who avoids crowded settings.

Etymologically, any word with phobia in it is derived from the Greek φόβος (phobos), "fear". Bacilo is from the Latin baculus meaning “stick.Bacili are disease-causing bacteria.

In a mild form, we see someone who is always cleaning up after shimself and others. In a more pathological sense, a bacilophobe would find the condition interfering with having a normal life.

Your bacilophobic character:
You can play this character for laughs (like Monk) by showing how the obsession with germs looks to the people heesh encounters. Your character wipes doorknobs before entering, uses a wipe on shis hands after shaking hands, and other behaviors that are done matter-of-factly, seemingly unaware that non-bacilophobic people don’t do them.

Perhaps your MC has a parent in a care facility who won’t eat in the communal dining hall because of extreme bacilophobia. The parent might not allow anyone into shis room to clean it or to check on welfare. Isolation is the preference, with the only food allowed being brought by the MC from certain cafeteria-style restaurants (where all the food is on display). Because the parent won’t allow anyone to check, the parent lies dead on the floor for several days before being found by the MC upon returning from a trip. Guilt ensues.

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Bacilophobia is a real thing and writers can use it for character development from @RomanceRighter


  1. I love learning new phobias. They are so interesting to learn about.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

    1. I just got back from reading the Story Dam posts for A & B. You always do the most interesting stuff on your site! I'm so happy you are visiting me here!

  2. Neat post! Phobias are fascinating. Thanks for popping by my blog today which prompted me to visit you. @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

    1. So glad you found me, Samantha. I won't be sharing only phobias, but I have plenty of those. When writing personality quirks for characters, there are phobias, conditions, and oddities. LOL

  3. Great theme for the A to Z challenge! I'm enjoying reading your posts.