The word ephebiphobia is formed from the Greek ἔφηβος éphēbos, meaning "youth" or "adolescent" and φόβος phóbos, meaning "fear" or "phobia". The coinage of this term is attributed to a 1994 article by Kirk Astroth published in Phi Delta Kappan. Today, common usage occurs internationally by sociologists, government agencies, and youth advocacy organizations that define ephebiphobia as an abnormal or irrational and persistent fear or loathing of teenagers or adolescence.
The term paedophobia has gained popular acceptance in Europe to describe the aforementioned "fear of youth". Pediaphobia is the fear of infants and children. Hebephobia (from the Greek ἥβη, hḗbē, "youth, puberty") has also been proposed . Similar terms include adultism, which is a predisposition towards adults that is biased against children and youth, and ageism, which describes discrimination against any person because of their age.