WORDS: Chronophobia (or Memento Mori)


I was watching an episode of Jonathon Creek the other night called Time Waits for Norman. The mystery revolved around a character who was described as “temporophobic.” This was defined as a person who is “terrified of the relentless passage of time.”

An internet search turned up another term “Chronophobia,” but a dictionary search on either word proved fruitless. Apparently, it’s an old term for a specific type of phobia that now is classified along with other phobias into general classes of disorders.  See the Free Medical Dictionary entry for Chronophobia.

There is a Wikipedia entry for  Chronophobia  which has some interesting links that might be worth investigating for writers.  There are a number of citations about the condition affecting the elderly and prisoners.

I recently read Memento Mori, by Muriel Spark, in which a group of elderly friends receive mysterious phone calls with the message: “Remember you must die.” How each character reacts to these calls makes an interesting tale.

Aren’t we all just a little afraid of time passing and with it our mortality? Isn’t that what the middle-age crisis is about? And what about the elderly? How often do we think that time is running out? How do we deal with it?

So, while I think that a morbid fear of the passage of time may be unusual, we are all  affected by Chronophobia. Worth pondering and writing about, don’t you think?  😉

For more WORDS for Writers, click HERE

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