I remember very clearly the first time I heard this word. There was a kid’s game show I used to watch called Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman (I’d still be watching it if it wasn’t canceled!). Every week, the contestants were sent out on challenges, and the one week two of the kids had to write a rap song for Ruff’s grandma. What does this have to do with triskaidekaphobia? Well, the challenge included a list of words that had to be used in the rap. One of them was triskaidekaphobia. I have never ever forgotten this word or what it means! What does triskaidekaphobia mean? Read on to find out!
Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13. It’s from the Greek words treiskaideka, meaning 13, and phobia, of course, meaning fear of. As I’m sure my readers know, 13 is considered an unlucky number, which is why some suffer from triskaidekaphobia. Why is 13 unlucky? No one knows for certain. Some believe it was because Judas was the 13th person to sit around the table when Jesus ate the Last Supper. There’s no Bibical proof for this, though. It’s also believed that the Vikings might have feared the number as Loki, god of mischief, was number 13 in the Norse pantheon. During the 1800s, Captain William Fowler decided he’d had enough of the fear of the number 13. He gathered together 12 friends and had dinner on Friday, January 13, 1882, at 8:13pm in Room 13. The guests walked into the room under a ladder and took their seats at a table where there were spilled salt cellars. This started a new sensation called Thirteen Clubs which four US presidents were part of. No triskaidekaphobia there!
I dug up the episode of Fetch where triskaidekaphobia was mentioned. It’s from season 2, and the episode is called “Tape Loops and Loop-the-loops.” You can hear the song at 21:00 if you don’t want to watch the whole episode. I actually still remember the grandma song pretty much word-for-word. I really loved this show growing up!
Have you ever heard of this word before? Did you ever watch Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman? Comment below and let me know! 🙂