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Surface form analyzed as sesquipedalian +‎ -ism, from sesqui- (one and a half) +‎ pedalian (of the foot).

From Latin sēsquipedālis (a foot and a half long; in metaphorical use, “of an unnatural length, huge, big”), from sēsqui (one and a half times as great) + pedālis (foot).[1]


  • (UK) IPA(key): /sɛz.kwɪ.pəˈdɛl.i.ən.ɪsm̩/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌsɛskwəpəˈdeɪli.ənɪzm̩/
  • (file)


sesquipedalianism (plural sesquipedalianisms)

  1. (uncountable) The practice of using long, sometimes obscure, words in speech or writing.
    • 1995, Michael Cart, From Romance to Realism, ISBN 0060242892, page 257:
      His voice here is a marvelous juxtaposition of cool elegance, unaffected hipness, unabashed sesquipedalianism ("the rich bouquet of exuded sebaceousness") and swell conversational slang (...)
  2. (countable) A very long word.

Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ From A New and Copious Lexicon of the Latin Language, Compiled Chiefly from the Magnum Totius Latinitatis Lexicon of Facciolati and Forcellini, and the German Works of Scheller and Luenemann, edited by F. P. Leverett, Wilkins, Carter & Co., Boston, 1849.