Love for Words – xenophile
October 18, 2013
___ Among travelers xenophiles imbibe in particularly fulfilling experiences.
“Xenophile,” pronounced [ZEN-uh-fyle] or [ZEE-nuh-fyle], combines the Greek xenos that means “stranger, guest,” or “strange, foreign, alien,” and the Greek philos that means “loving.”
A xenophile is a person who adores foreign people, customs or cultures. They relish in experiencing other cultures’ cuisine, clothing styles, music, or customs. They love people from other cultures.
Xenophiles who travel are distinct among tourists. Many tourists land on foreign soil and follow the tourist path, per se, that leads them among monuments and souvenir stores.
While xenophiles might do this as part of their adventure, they indeed detour to find restaurants, taverns, wine nooks or cafés where the locals linger, and opt to mingle with them.
Now, “foreign” may be via a different country, or a different region that presents a distinct culture. In the United States, for example, a xenophile could be a ranch Texan visiting Manhattan New York, or vice versa.
A xenophile at home relishes in encountering foreign visitors, and by instinct welcomes their presence.
The opposite is “xenophobe.” This word combines xenos with the Greek phobos that mean “fear, panic.” A xenophobe is one who hates or fears foreigners or strangers. The haters might be antipathetic* to foreign visitors they encounter in their home town. The fearers might be the folks who spent their travel budget for two weeks abroad, only to take pictures along the tourist path, stay with their travel partners every place they visit, then to go back to their hotel or seek a familiar chain restaurant. They might have a subconscious fear of extending themselves beyond their own culture.
*Antipathy is a previous featured Word.
Do you consider yourself a xenophile, or a bit of a xenophobe?
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