Although 'misoneism' is indeed the only similar word in my dictionary,
the word you're certainly thinking of is 'misocainia'.
This site is one of the very few I've found online which offer a
definition of the word. It doesn't seem to be listed in any of the
dictionaries on my bookshelves, nor in any of the online dictionary
n. - hatred of anything new or strange, such as new ideas"
Luciferous Logolepsy: Dragging obscure words into the light of day
The etymology is Ancient Greek. It's a compound word derived from the
prefix 'miso-', meaning 'hatred of' - as in 'misanthropy' and
'misogyny' - and the adjective 'kainos', meaning 'new and fresh'.
The word 'misokainos', however, isn't an authentic Ancient Greek word,
according to the very authoritative 'Liddell & Scott's Greek Lexicon'.
This suggests that the word is a more recent coinage - probably, I
would guess, a 17th - 18th century one, as this was a time in which a
huge number of words were coined in English from Greek and Latin
To be honest, I would advise against using this word in your writing -
it is *terribly* obscure and will send your readers scrambling for
their dictionaries where, alas, they won't find the definition.
'Misoneism' is a much better bet.
Other online citations of 'misocainia':
Posting on rec.arts.books
Writing Through Media: Vocabulary List
Hope this helps,
Clarification of Answer by
29 Jul 2002 09:44 PDT
This just in -
It seems that 'misocainea' is a variant spelling, and one which, in
fact, *is* listed by many of the online dictionary sites.
This site gives a citation although, alas, it's from the last decade:
"Although I agree with the majority that no appellate court has yet
an insurer liable absent a premium payment, it may be nothing more
appellate judges suffering from a case of misocainea!"
Hill v. Chubb Life American Insurance Co., Arizona Business Gazette
(Phoenix), Nov 11, 1993.
My gut feeling is that this spelling is wrong since, in the Greek, the
verb which derives from 'kainos' takes an -i rather than an -e in its
morphology. However, given the greater number of web-based references
to it rather than 'misocainia', I suppose it has the better claim to
being the correct spelling.
Clarification of Answer by
30 Jul 2002 05:20 PDT
I visited the reference library and did a survey of all the major
The Oxford English Dictionary doesn't list the word at all.
Webster's Dictionary gives the following definition:
"misocainea - an abnormal aversion to anything new."
Alas, Webster's doesn't give a citation, but it describes the word as
a 'Neo-Latinism'; i.e. a word which was coined from Classical roots
between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The only other reference I found from about 15 major dictionaries was
in the NTC Dictionary of Latin and Greek Origins. Their definition:
"An abnormal animus, aversion, abhorrence and antagonism towards new
The NTC Dictionary gives neither citations nor date of first
If nothing else, this clears up the spelling. It's 'misocainea', NOT
'misocainia' - I'm sorry to lead you up the wrong track in my first
The omission of the word from the OED, which prides itself on being
*the* definitive authority on the English language, and which runs to
twelve volumes, confirms the fact that the word is highly obscure. I
should therefore repeat my warning about using it with great care.
Finally - thanks for asking such an interesting question.