Interesting Word – Triskaidekaphobia

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!

http://pbskids.org/fetch/show/video/season2.html?pid=nV08rsX6NyIIiSflb_ZKPV3jLgwnlE2f

Have you ever heard of this word before? Did you ever watch Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman? Comment below and let me know! 🙂

~ Kayla

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10 thoughts on “Interesting Word – Triskaidekaphobia

  1. Oh my goodness! Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman was probably my favorite show growing up! I had completely forgotten about it until a few months ago when my little sister found it on Netflix! I was so excited! I also watched Wishbone a whole lot too, but it’s not on Netflix 😦 Did you ever watch Wishbone?

    • Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman is on Netflix? I had no idea! Thanks for letting me know. 😀 No, I never watched Wishbone. Actually, I’ve never even heard of it. I’ll have to check it out and see what I missed.

      • No problem! And Wishbone is a non animated talking Jack Russell Terrier who tells/ reenacts classic stories, like Tom Sawyer, Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island ect…in order to teach a lesson. It is quite entertaining and I believe that every episode is based off of a different book.

  2. I once heard or read somewhere that the number 13 is considered unlucky because the Pope at the time (in 1307) ordered a secret death warrant for the Knights Templar on Firday 13th. But who knows! There are many theories. It’s a very interesting word, though, thanks for sharing!

  3. Fetch was my favorite show. ❤ I remember the triskaidekaphobia song. :,D I still use that word when I see fit (which isn't very often, mind you), and my friends look at me as if to say, "What on wart are you talking about?" Haha.

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