Xenophobia is the fear or dislike of people who are different from oneself, particularly foreigners. The term xenophobia originates from the Greek words xénos (stranger) and phóbos (fear), so it essentially means the fear of strangers; however, it is more often used to describe hatred or hostility.

Xenophobia comprises multiple aspects of prejudice and may be based on any racist, religious, ethnic, cultural or national discrimination. Xenophobic attitudes and behaviors are often triggered by a fear that outsiders or foreigners are a threat to one’s community or national identity. People with xenophobic attitudes often want to secure the perceived purity of their own culture or nation.

For example, an American man who feels threatened or angry that his company has hired Russian interns would be considered xenophobic. Perhaps, deep down he fears that his cultural and religious values are being threatened by what he perceives as an influx of different types of people. He fears being outnumbered or losing his current way of life.

Studies have shown that economic inequalities and poor social conditions can lead to mass fear and tension, giving rise to racism and xenophobia. People who are perceived to be outsiders, such as refugees, asylum-seekers, migrants, displaced persons, and non-nationals, are often targeted.

Example: Her xenophobia is so pronounced, she even refuses to dine in ethnic restaurants.