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What Is the Fear of the Number 8?


Updated January 28, 2012

Question: What Is the Fear of the Number 8?

Octophobia, or fear of the number 8, is affiliated with arithmophobia, or the fear of numbers. Unlike the numbers 13 and 666, the number 8 is not widely feared in the United States. Nonetheless, it is considered a significant number in many cultures, as well as among those who practice numerology. Like all number phobias, octophobia can be difficult to manage, as it is nearly impossible to avoid specific numbers.


Meanings of the Number 8

In order to understand the phobia, it is necessary to understand the various meanings that are ascribed to the number. Many cultures and religions recognize the number as a manifestation of the totality of the universe. It represents the major festivals of the Wiccan year, the number of days in the Jewish Hanukkah, the Angels carrying the Holy Throne of Allah in Islam, the Guardians of the Directions in Hinduism, and the Immortals of Chinese lore.

The number 8 is generally considered lucky, as it is often affiliated with wealth and prosperity. However, it is also a holy number in many cultures, which carries a great deal of power. In some interpretations of numerology, the number is considered one of both building and destruction--analogous to the Tower or Death card in tarot.

Figure 8

Some people do not fear the number itself, but are afraid of the figure 8 pattern. Turned on its side, the figure 8 is used as a universal symbol for infinity. The idea of infinity has roots in mathematics, physics, philosophy, astrology, astronomy, religion and logic. It is extremely difficult for most humans to conceptualize. This fear is often, but not always, based on another fear. Religion-based phobias, fear of the unknown, and fear of death may be related to the fear of the figure 8.

Daily Life

Although it is virtually impossible to avoid all occurrences of the number 8, the fear is generally manageable with minor coping strategies. Some people refuse to live in a house with the number 8 or stay on the 8th floor of a hotel. Others add something else to a grocery order when the total ends in an 8. If you are unable to manage your fear with simple techniques, then professional assistance might be appropriate.


American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th Ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

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