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basis for inclusion[edit]

The basis for inclusion, as with many 'fun' words, might simply be because they are, and have been used for at least several decades, certainly in discussions such as these. There might reasonably be a category of words which are commonly or even typically misused, or not used according to their etymological or other supposed basis for existence. And perhaps it should be recognized that humans will play with anything, words of any kind included. Used capriciously or not, they can make you sound precocious, if not a little precious. Specious or not, bar bets demand that such words be included.-) It might rub some linguistic martinets the wrong way, but that's fun too.
Perhaps it is obvious that there should be limits, but it beats the snew out of me, where they should be placed, and by whom. (It's not like we will run out of electrons or hot air.)
( 05:02, 24 December 2008 (UTC))(My log-in won't hold. sigh.)

Headline text[edit]

I think that this is a very dumb phobia because no one is afraid of long words and if they are they are idiotic. —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

Yes, it's pretty silly, isn't it? Unfortunately the "I think..." indicates a point a view, and with Wiktionary we try to keep our neutral. So long as it can be verified then it belongs here. DAVilla 17:56, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

I think they should change the name of this phobia because if someone wanted to tell someone else what type of phobia they have, they'd probably go into a panic attack. I think it was named this delibrately as a joke. coin945 17:04, 27 December 2006

Yes it is a joke, but it is a real word and there is reason for this page to be deleted. And you may think it's ridiculous, but some people think it's stupid to be afraid of a tiny harmless spider, but people are still afraid.

Um, sorry, no. It isn't a word, it is a misspelling. --Connel MacKenzie 03:15, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

I have been researching this subject for three days now and on every medical website I've been to, they've spelled it all the same: hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. with two p's. I don't think anyone on here really has the degree to argue with a doctor. but I am sure, when anyone here gets there degree to be a doctor, they can argue that it is spelled wrong. until then, i wouldn't argue with doctors. because i am sure they know more about it than you do. Why did i even come to this page? I hate long words!

Doctors of Medicine have no linguistic qualifications; Argument from authority is a logical fallacy. - 03:42, 4 September 2010 (UTC) It's very fun to say to!

why is the fear of long words rely long again? and why delete it? some people want to know about this stuff. ~ice~ 4-26-11

Scotsman quote[edit]

Can somebody who has access to the Scotsman article confirm if the word really is misspelled there, and if so, add [sic] to the quote here? -- Smjg 12:19, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Requests for deletion - kept[edit]

Kept. See archived discussion of February 2008. 13:06, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Check the bottom of the page...[edit]

.. as there's a formatting error there.

As written:

| width=1% | |bgcolor="#FFFFE0" valign=top align=left width=48%|


Yes, someone left out {trans-top}, the top of table format, fixed. Robert Ullmann 17:05, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Usage of this word in the medical profession[edit]

Also, a sesquippedaliophobe can be used as a medical term for someone who has difficulty pronouncing long words, whether it's through a speech impediment or a throat infection or something. I'm afraid I don't have a citition, I only know this through experience.

Current Definition[edit]

The page currently says that it literally means "hippopotomus" and "monster" related fear of long words, where those prefixes are actually intensifiers meaning "large" in English. It seems I can't edit the definition directly, can someone else possibly clean this up? —This unsigned comment was added by Zixaq (talkcontribs) at 21:18, 8 February 2009 (UTC).


The sole purpose of this illegitimate word is to provide entertainment for a few. Unfortunately others see it and mistake it for a real word because it is long and confusing and they assume that they don't have the language skills to break down its components. I already have been bombarded by trivia questions from friends who think that people with PhDs created this because it is important and scientific. People enjoy these phobia words because they don't know Greek or Latin and the words sound so funny and unrelated to their English meanings. So this one surely fits the criteria of making it entertaining in that sense, but has the added bonus of being ironic. But its not really ironic, it's just been arbitrarily thrown together for a chuckle. In order for this word to be understood it must be explained by someone who is in on the joke, because it cannot be deciphered by its Greek and Latin roots.

Let's not underestimate the power of the internet when it comes to shaping language. If fanciful words such as this become widely accepted and enter online dictionaries, they will appear to have the same legitimacy as real words with components that convey the word's meaning or ones that have real etymological background. I understand that words often enter a language after being colloquialisms or being widely misused or misspelled or coined and not every word should be composed of Greek or Latin roots. But this is beyond all of that. It is only fun nonsense. If I wanted to convey that someone loved the color red I could call them a phodophile. Or I could be cute and call them a candyapplefiretruckraspberryphodophile. I could put my article up on Wiktionary and by tomorrow have people defending it because the English words I put in there act as "intensifiers." I could make it the longest word in the English language if I add enough "intensifiers."

So yeah, maybe put the word in a humor section. It would just be a shame if people using the internet as a reference tool ran into entries like this and there was nothing to indicate that it's just a "for fun" word.

  • You could put those words up here, but they would be deleted unless they had citations. If you could get them used in two national newspapers and printed books -- as this one has been -- then it would indeed be valid. There are no criteria for saying that this is or is not "illegitimate". Our job is not to make judgements of legitimacy, it is simply to record which words are being used by writers/speakers, and to explain what meaning they appear to have. Ƿidsiþ 17:42, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Delete or rewrite[edit]

While I personally believe that even a made up or phantasy word can have a valid place in both a language and a dictionary, I doubt that this is the case here. By all appearances, it is strictly a joke word, it has an extremely limited range of use, and it is too clumsy to be sensible addition to English. (I also doubt that it will typically be correctly spelled, possibly even whether there is a consensus spelling, even drawing on the etymology.)

In all, I would suggest that the entry is deleted or, failing that, rewritten to more clearly reflect the status and origins of the word. The etymology, in particular, should explicitly state that it is a made-up word---or provide proof that it is not.

Beware the difference between useful constructed words, like "television", and this monstrum.

(As a comical aside, can it really be justified to name a phobia with a name that it self could trigger that phobia? Psychiatrically speaking, this seems to be an exceedingly poor idea...) 18:10, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Why should the article state that this is a made-up word? Surely readers should be aware that every word in every human language is a made-up word? Is the idea that this statement should be included in every wiktionary entry? Michealt 01:03, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Green check.svg

The following information passed a request for deletion.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.


hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is at best a protologism. It should be removed from the dictionary. At most it belongs to Wikipedia, defined as 'Jocular and fictional phobia' ( A term made up as a joke on the first episode of Brainiac Series Five as one of Tickle's Teasers. —This unsigned comment was added by Dgomez296 (talkcontribs) at 1 January 2011.

The rules here are WT:CFI. Since you're basically contesting that it is a real word used in real cases, it should have gone to Wiktionary:Requests for verification. However, it's already passed RFD once, and Talk:hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia reveals that the issue has been discussed, so I see no reason to keep this open.--Prosfilaes 21:30, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Keep. Clearly meets CFI. --Yair rand (talk) 15:23, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Right, and cited already.​—msh210 (talk) 16:49, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Keep. Mglovesfun (talk) 02:02, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Sorry to ask but...[edit]

I almost hate to ask, seeing as there appear to have been two prior attempts at deletion, but... given that one can suffer from hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, would that individual not therefore be considered to be:

hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobic ? (which doesn't seem to appear in the wiktionary)

And for those big strong men & women who say it's obviously a fabrication as no one could actually be scared of long words, ask some 10-year-old boy heading off to an English vocabulary test if there's such a thing as fear of long words; some may just hate 'em, but you know that somewhere out there there's a kid that'll turn pale as a ghost when you tell him he's gonna have to memorize a 35-letter, 15-syllable word.

BTW: Given that hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is not the fear hippopotami... What is? Cheers WP:Who R you? (Talk) 06:01, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Presumes that every fear has a name. Large-scary-but-foot-and-a-half-long-word-fear is not a medical term, but has entered the language pretending to be one, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hippophobia is fear of horses, so that isn't it. For you, I suggest maddiporunfast. For hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, I suggest use of a larger font, and content indicating the fear of hippopotamuses that insist on the most lengthy alternative spellings of greek roots. Dovid (talk) 19:53, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

useless knowledge[edit]

I have removed the following unreferenced info from the entry; it was disputed and tagged {{fact}}:

  • In the book, Useless Knowledge, this enormous word was misinterpreted by the authors as two words, causing them to list the fear of long words as the following:
    • hippopotomonstroses
    • quippedaliophobia
These fragments appear to be quoted occasionally in other sources.

- -sche (discuss) 00:35, 27 December 2012 (UTC)