Shashi Tharoor is just a ‘sesquipedalian’! And other really long words

Shashi Tharoor Shashi Tharoor is definitely not a hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobic! (Source: File pic)

Here are some of the longest words in the English language for adults and children to enjoy learning.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

This was just a fancy word to describe something worthless or of no value, which nobody really used, till Shashi Tharoor decided to do the honours on Twitter. Since he’s a sesquipedalian (ahem!), trust him to know this 29-letter word! The word also came up at the end of Satyajit Ray’s 1991 Bengali film Agantuk, used by actor Utpal Dutt’s character, who dismisses material wealth as, you guessed it, floccinaucinihilipilification.

Sesquipedalian

The 14-letter word simply means someone who loves long words. According to Urban Dictionary, it’s “an extraordinarily large word. A word that only the pedantic use.” And as a lover of long words, you are indulging in sesquipedalianism. It is believed to have been first used by ancient Roman poet Horace and in Latin, literally means words that are foot and a half long, according to Dictionary.com.

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobic

This is not someone who should be bumping into Shashi Tharoor or even reading his prolific twitter feed. It simply means “someone who fears long words”. Symptoms can reportedly include dry mouth, headache, breathlessness and basically, panic in social situations where you may have to encounter embarrassingly long words. At 35 letters, it’s among the longest words in the English dictionary. Good luck trying to pronounce it!

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

Medically, it refers to silicosis, or a lung disease caused by inhaling silica particles from a volcano or according to the Oxford English Dictionary, by “inhaling very fine ash and sand dust”. So, the next time you see someone out of breath, you can ask (actually, don’t!) if they’re suffering from this 45-letter condition.

Praetertranssubstantiationalistically

This 37-letter entered the hall of fame after it was used by Mark McShane in his 1963 novel Untimely Ripped. It’s safe to say you won’t be using this word anytime soon, since it means bypassing the ritual of “transubstantiation” during Catholic mass.

Antidisestablishmentarianism

At 28 letters, it refers to the government’s initiative to withdraw support for a particular church or religion, drawing its origins in the disestablishment (another long word) of the Church of England.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Is this an actual word? It might as well be, for the popularity it has enjoyed since Mary Poppins described it as something to say “when you have nothing to say” in the iconic film. It even appears in a few dictionaries. And who doesn’t love rolling their tongues around this 34-letter wonder?

 

Brobdingnagian

Shashi Tharoor’s language must be truly brobdingnagian (yeah, we’re back on him)! Owing its origins to a place in Gulliver’s Travel where everything was gigantic, the 14-letter word means huge or enormous.

Rhinotillexomania

Are you prone to rhinotillexomania? Well, that can be quite disgusting, especially in public. Wondering what we’re talking about? This 17-letter word means compulsive nose picking.

Podobromhydrosis

Ugh! Take those podobromhydrosis away from my face…if someone says that to you, they’ve just used a 16-letter word to describe your smelly feet.

Polyphiloprogenitive

Whoever coined these words must have been seriously polyphiloprogenitive. In other words, very imaginative, which is what this 20-letter word means.

Eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious

Did you enjoy reading this? Well, that’s good, or rather, eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious, which as you can tell, is a 30-letter word meaning fine or very good. Weird? But wonderful too. Try it sometime!