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Alternative forms


From hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian, an extension of sesquipedalian with ad hoc combining forms of monstrum (monster) and hippopotamus (intended to exaggerate the length of the word itself and the idea of the size of the words being feared), +‎ -phobia.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌhɪ.pəˌpɒ.tə(ʊ)ˈmɒn.stɹə(ʊ)ˌsɛs.kwɪ.pɪˌdɑːl.ɪ.ə(ʊ)ˈfəʊ.bɪ.ə/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -əʊbiə
  • Hyphenation: hip‧po‧po‧to‧mon‧stro‧ses‧qui‧pe‧dal‧i‧o‧pho‧bi‧a


hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia (uncountable)

  1. (humorous) The fear of long words.
    Ben suffers from hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia so he seldom uses words of more than three syllables.
    • 2002 April 19, anonymous author, The Scotsman, page 13:
      However, we assume that despite the best endeavours of science, some phobias will always remain. These include paraskavedekatriaphobia, or fear of Friday the 13th. And hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, which is fear of long words.
    • 2002 December 14, Chris Lloyd, The Northern Echo, page 10:
      Those who find this column troubling are suffering from hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia- the fear of long words. Or, more likely, rupophobia - a fear of rubbish.
    • 2005 September 30, D. Harlan Wilson, Pseudo-City, Raw Dog Screaming Press, →ISBN, page 183:
      Coincidentally there is a masochistic PCP with hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of long words) curled up in an alleyway across the street. He has been whispering “Antidisestablishmentarianism” to himself over and over for two days now, experiencing up to one orgasm every three hours as a result of The Pain  []

Usage notes

  • It is unlikely that this 15-syllable contrivance is ever used purely for its meaning. The term sesquipedalophobia is recognized in formal writing.


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