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?  😉

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WORDS: Quotidian

“Quotidian” is on the list of words every (working writer) should know. I find this amusing as I can’t remember hearing it in years.

It’s one of those words that could get you into trouble if you use it in quotidian places of business. Are you praising or belittling something when you call it quotidian? How do you work that into a phone conversation without sounding pretentious?

I ask you, is the word “quotidian” quotidian?  😉

However, if you want to be an art critic, political commentator,  opinion maker, or just sound like you know what you’re talking about, I suggest you add this word to your writer’s box of tricks.

Bing’s definition:

quo·tid·i·an [kwōˈtidēən]

of or occurring every day; daily:
“the car sped noisily off through the quotidian traffic”

ordinary or everyday, especially when mundane:
“his story is an achingly human one, mired in quotidian details”

synonyms: daily · everyday · day-to-day · diurnal · ordinary · average · run-of-the-mill · everyday · standard · typical · middle-of-the-road · common · conventional · mainstream

denoting the malignant form of malaria.


If you want to learn more about this word check out the online dictionary link below:

Merriam Webster : quotidian