So I got bored and started looking through phobias thinking I could get some kicks out of the insane phobias out there…
And I ran into this one.
The fear of long words.
Now this here is much too funny and ironic to be true. That was my first thought. So I decided to look it up, but there wasn’t much I could find about it. Someone said that it was a joke from the Webster dictionary. But I couldn’t find any definite answer for this. I did find a shorter word meaning the same thing, but it was still pretty long.

Hippo and poto are ripped off from “hippopotamus,” meaning “river horse”. Likewise “monstro” pretty much means monster. “Sesquipedelian” does describe a word that’s too long (seven footed? seventeen footed?) and sesquipedaliophobia should be adequate to describe the fear of long words and trigger anyone (except perhaps Alanis Morrisette’s) irony-meter. Sounds like a funny bit of lexicography ruined by someone who thought “it will be funnier if I can make it longer.”

Sesquipedalian simply means one and one half footed. (Think Sesquicentennial for all the Midwest farm towns hitting their 150th birthday.)

Worth mentioning that there was a fad in the 19th Century for coining new words just for the hell of it. I don’t know how much that infected the long lists of Latinesque/Greekesque phobia names, but it spawned many, many collective nouns for animals we take for granted now and assume are fairly ancient in origin simply because they sound impressive to people who don’t know better than to call “bullshit”.

And, of course, the fad continues, albeit in a less desperate way. Still, watch out for a Latin term for a fear of iPods, or the invented collective noun for a group of people in Second Life.

Why is ‘long’ a short word?
Why is ‘abbreviated’ a short word?

How about ‘nonenuntiophobia’?
Of course it means ‘a fear of unpronounceable words’.

And have you met ‘occulopyxisphobia’. That’s a fear of spoiler boxes! :smiley:

President F.D. Roosevelt said phobophobia is all we have.:wink: Or something like that.

Shouldn’t “monosyllabic” be shorter?



Latin for MPSIMS.



Let’s not forget aibohphobia, the fear of palindromes.

I always loved how the word “subtle” had a subtle “b” in it.


Sounds like something Nicolas Slonimsky would come up with.

Slonimsky was a composer, music critic, and author with a rather quirky sense of humor and a fantastic tendency toward self deprecation. In his book Music since 1900 he included the following in the Dictionary of Terms, to make fun of his own tendency toward overblown language:

Sesquipedalian macropolysyllabification.

It was probably the same person that put an ‘s’ in the word lithp.