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fear of the number 13


triskaidekaphobia = Angst vor der Nummer 13



“Thirteen people, started an action to eliminate TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA, fear of the number 13. They tried to reassure American sufferers by renting a 13 ft plot of land in Brooklyn for 13 cents… a month.”

The Daily Telegraph

Did you

- an irrational fear of the number thirteen



The word was first found in print in 1911 and is formed from the Greek word for thirteen “treiskaideka” + “phobos”, fear.

There are many theories about the origin of fear-of-thirteen - a common explanation from medieval Christianity alludes to the 13 persons at the Last Supper of Christ.

Because the Crucifixion was on a Friday, this weekday was also considered unlucky in Christian legend. Thus a Friday falling on the thirteenth day of the month might be a reason for staying in bed.


- Many hospitals have no room number 13, and many tall buildings do not name the 13th floor. Instead they either have floor 12A or M (the 13th letter of the alphabet).

- The former U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt refused to travel on the thirteenth of any month and would never sit with thirteen people at table

- It has been estimated that around $800-$900 million is lost in the U.S. annually because of triskaidekaphobia, as a significant number of people will not fly or do business as usual on Friday the 13th.

- 40 percent of real estate agents admit that houses that have 13 in their address are difficult to sell, and often must be sold at a lower price than similar houses with a different house number.

- According to a British study that compared traffic accidents over a period of 2 years, there are more accidents on Fridays the 13th than on other Fridays, maybe because drivers are more nervous in traffic that day. A similar study in the Netherlands found no such correlation, thus suggesting that the British may be more superstitious.

- In Formula-1 racing, cars cannot bear the number 13.

- Continental, KLM, Air France, Lufthansa, and RyanAir have no row 13 on their aircraft, and Scottish airports do not have gate 13, they use gate 12B instead.

- People who suffer from fear-of-thirteen are called TRISKAIDEKAPHOBES. They include: Napoleon, Herbert Hoover, Mark Twain, Richard Wagner, Franklin Roosevelt, and Stephen King

SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“A word like TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA is a good discussion topic on any Friday the 13th.”

THANKS to Stephen for suggesting today’s OWAD.

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

Paul Smith

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