Word Of The Day 5-6-2017




having many syllables

characterized by the use of long words


Did You Know?

Horace, the Roman poet known for his satire, was merely being gently ironic when he cautioned young poets against using “sesquipedalia verba”-“words a foot and a half long”-in his book Ars poetica, a collection of maxims about writing. But in the 17th century, English literary critics decided the word sesquipedalian could be very useful for lambasting writers using unnecessarily long words. Robert Southey used it to make two jibes at once when he wrote “the verses of [16th-century English poet] Stephen Hawes are as full of barbarous sesquipedalian Latinisms, as the prose of [the 18th-century periodical] the Rambler.” The Latin prefix sesqui- is used in modern English to mean “one and a half times,” as in “sesquicentennial” (a 150th anniversary).


The most common use of “antidisestablishmentarianism” is as an example of a sesquipedalian word.

By the way, this is sometimes known in more general circles as sesquipedalian loquaciousness. -US News, May 26, 2016

As it would have been an absurdity to have appended diminutives to sesquipedalian names, national wit, rather than deliberate plan, prevented it. -Bardsley, Charles W.

This “ornate style” introduced sesquipedalian Latinisms, words of immense dimensions, that could not hide their vacuity of thought. -Disraeli, Isaac


Latin sesquipedalis, literally, a foot and a half long, from sesqui- + ped-, pes foot.




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