This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Word To Use Today: paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Today is Friday the thirteenth.

If this worries you then you are suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Why would anyone be afraid of Friday the thirteenth? 

Well, it wasn't very lucky for the composer Rossini, who died on Friday the thirteenth; but then, to provide a bit of balance, it was fine for all the Bachs, Beethoven, both Haydns, Verdi, Monteverdi, and a host of other composers, who didn't.

It's true that there were thirteen at The Last Supper, but then that went off quite well, really, considering: and in any case The Last Supper took place on a Thursday.

So what's the answer? 

Sadly, no one knows. Again, one or two unlucky things have happened on Friday thirteenth, but most of them haven't. 

(By the way, if you're Greek then actually Tuesday the thirteenth is the worst day. If you're Italian then it's Friday the seventeenth.) 

Friday the thirteenth is bad for airlines because people tend to avoid flying on that day. The Finns, amusingly, hold their National Accident Day on Friday the thirteenth. 

Luckily for the organisers, it's not particularly a day when bad things happen.

Word To Use Today: paraskevidekatriaphobia. This whole circus may have been started by Thomas W Lawson's 1907 novel about a financial scandal Friday the Thirteenth. The word comes from the Greek paraskevi, Friday, and dekatreis, thirteen. And from phobia, of course, which from the Greek word phobos, fear.


  1. Mt father died on Friday April 13th 1962 so it has always had a dark cloud associated with it. Best Ian

    1. I'm so sorry, Ian. He surely would have been very proud of you.