in Wacky Word Wednesday

Trying to kick a bad habit? On today’s Wacky Word Wednesday, a weekly celebration of the wackiest and most interesting words from around the world, we will learn that some habits are harder to break than others. Here’s this week’s word, hauled over from



quo toptrichotillomania


An abnormal desire to pull out one’s hair.

quo bottrichotillomania

The Greek tricho means hair, tillein means to pull out, and mania means excessive enthusiasm or craze. These three words make up Trichotillomania, which means an impulse control disorder (ICD) that involves strong urges to pull out one’s own hair. It was coined in 1889 by French dermatologist Francois Henri Hallopeau, who used it to describe a condition exhibited by a man who had pulled out every hair on his body in reaction to an intense itch. The disorder is also known as trichotillosis, trichomania or trich, for short.

Trichotillomania was first believed to be a rare condition, but that view is now changing as experts gain a better understanding of the disorder and more people come forward for help. People with trichotillomania pull hair out at the root from places like the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or pubic area; sometimes, they are even unaware of their hair pulling disorder until they are almost bald. You might wonder how someone could endure so much pain without realizing it or why they wouldn’t just stop. But, as doctors suggest, trichotillomania isn’t just an ordinary habit; it’s a condition that may be caused by an imbalance in the brain’s chemistry.

But there are others who willfully pluck out their hair as a way of practicing penance. This custom, called kaya klesh, is a must for Jain monks who take the lifelong vow of monkhood.  In a typical hair plucking ceremony, the Jain monks would tear out their hair strand by strand for the two hours that it usually takes to achieve a completely bare scalp. It sounds … excruciating, doesn’t it?

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If you wonder how you can use today’s wacky word in a sentence, check out the examples below:

  • The cost of gas, the war in Iraq, the dollar devaluation, job losses and mortgage failures are all behind a rising sense of trichotillomania in the US. (Alpha Dictionary)
  • Like many with trichotillomania, Neomie said she got some sense of relief and satisfaction from pulling out her hair. (Michelle Roberts; Women Who Tear Their Hair Out; BBC News (London, UK); Jul 6, 2009)

You might be tearing your hair out trying to finish your work on time this week, so we at Simply CSOFT want to thank you for taking the time to read today’s blog post. We hope to see next time!

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