Whenever people disagree, name calling is a typical reaction. Hence violetwisp
Xenophobia is sort of a medical term (medical definition here). Since the plain, ordinary definition and the medical definition are the same, this distinction is without a difference. Apparently, the term xenophobia is primarily used by people who don’t believe in sin. If you disagree with their belief in wide-open borders, you are not evil; you just have a serious medical condition.
I first ran into the term xenophobia when I was a kid in school. Part of the lesson involved describing our enemies, then the Russians of the USSR, as xenophobes. Strangely, when the teacher portrayed the Russians as xenophobic, he intended to inspire sympathy. The teacher observed that Russia was one of the Slavic states. The Slavs are generally located in an area where geographic barriers did not prevent their enemies from assailing them. In fact, they were assailed on all sides, so much so that history has memorialized the horror they experienced with this word.
slave (n.) late 13c., “person who is the chattel or property of another,” from Old French esclave (13c.), from Medieval Latin Sclavus “slave” (source also of Italian schiavo, French esclave, Spanish esclavo), originally “Slav” (see Slav); so used in this secondary sense because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering peoples.
This sense development arose in the consequence of the wars waged by Otto the Great and his successors against the Slavs, a great number of whom they took captive and sold into slavery. [Klein]
Meaning “one who has lost the power of resistance to some habit or vice” is from 1550s. Applied to devices from 1904, especially those which are controlled by others (compare slave jib in sailing, similarly of locomotives, flash bulbs, amplifiers). Slave-driver is attested from 1807; extended sense of “cruel or exacting task-master” is by 1854. Slave state in U.S. history is from 1812. Slave-trade is attested from 1734.
Old English Wealh “Briton” also began to be used in the sense of “serf, slave” c.850; and Sanskrit dasa-, which can mean “slave,” apparently is connected to dasyu- “pre-Aryan inhabitant of India.” Grose’s dictionary (1785) has under Negroe “A black-a-moor; figuratively used for a slave,” without regard to race. More common Old English words for slave were þeow (related to þeowian “to serve”) and þræl (see thrall). The Slavic words for “slave” (Russian rab, Serbo-Croatian rob, Old Church Slavonic rabu) are from Old Slavic *orbu, from the PIE root *orbh- (also source of orphan), the ground sense of which seems to be “thing that changes allegiance” (in the case of the slave, from himself to his master). The Slavic word is also the source of robot.
Otto the Great reigned from 962 until his death in 973. Centuries later, the nation we call Russia began to form, but the wars and depredations continued. Here is a long List of wars involving Russia. When we think of slaves today, because it is part of our recent history, we tend to think of the black slaves of the pre-Civil War era. Yet, ironically, that word slave hearkens back to members of the white race.
So it is that the more I thought about the application of that term xenophobia to the Russians and other Slavs, the more confused I grew. Of course, I also began to realize that the Slavs were not the only people plagued by conflict. War and strife seems ever part of the human condition. So I wondered. What foolishness possessed someone to come up with the term xenophobia?
Agoraphobia refers to an . I have not discovered how the meaning of xenophobia changed from agoraphobia. All I can say is that we are supposed to be careful about who we trust. Don’t we tell our children not to trust strangers?
Nevertheless, we have a curious problem. Few of us stop to think how complex our society has become or how much we depend upon people we don’t know — strangers. We go to the supermarket, and we buy food prepared by strangers. We go to the dentist or the doctor’s office, and we get drilled, stuck by needles, cut and stitched, …… Isn’t our terror of the procedures bad enough without a strong distrust of the dentists, doctors and nurses? We buy our cars and drive them at 70 miles an hour, confident the steering wheel, the tires, the brakes, and so forth will work, that the road is safe. Why? Nothing could go wrong?
We have friends of a sort, people who care about us, many whose names we will never know. Yet we have enemies too. That is why trust is a good thing, but we must do our best to verify that those we would call friends are worthy of our trust. The lives of our family, friends and neighbors depend upon being right.
There is a complete list “Of Twisted Words” posts at the first post in this series, OF TWISTED WORDS => FEMINISM.