Thursday, 24 May 2012


A colleague and friend of mine and yours truly enjoy the occasional pastime of looking for extraordinarily long English words, which we then present to one another. Today he came up with


You certainly are familiar with hippopotamus, monstro(us) and phobia. But is sesquipedalian a word that belongs to your active vocabulary? Well, it doesn't belong to mine. Sesquipedalian (meaning 'of many syllables') goes back to Latin sesquipedālis. The latter contains Lpēs (= foot) and Lsesqui (= one and a half), which is a contraction of Lsēmis-que (= half in addition) with Lsēmis meaning 'half'.

The transcription of the word looks something like this:


It's not in OED (tsk, tsk!).
However, OED does record floccinaucinihilipilification.What a consolation!

credit: Innovative Games



  1. I beg to offer:


    "a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine sand and ash dust"

  2. Let's not forget supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

    This one is probably the best known of the long words. And about as meaningful too.

  3. This item wd be possibly worth hearing about if it cd be believed to have actually been used in a manner that indicated that it was not concocted for its own sake — surely a pointless and childish pastime. This rather applies to the Carley offering. The Maidment one looks more credible but again without a quoted unpointless use it comes under suspicion, especially because a shorter equivalent cd no dout easily be devised.

  4. @JWL: Please, don't be so harsh! We don't have to be dead serious all the time. I reserve the right to be childish from time to time.