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Antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian

Every once in awhile, I google the word antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian. So far, there has never been a single site on the web using this word, at least not that Google knows about. I was amazed at this fact! This word has been one of my favorites for many many years. So, given that it has not yet appeared on the web, let me be the one to introduce it. Woo! Let me tell you the story.

When I was a child, living in Durham North Carolina… this would have been before I was 9 years old as we were still at the apartment on Trinity Avenue… the first time… not after I came back from Indiana. I think it was during the era when I had pet brown snakes. But I’m not as sure about that.

In any case, my father would occationally clip articles from the paper he thought I would be interested in. One time, it was an article about long words. I’m not sure if it was from the local Durham paper, or from some other newspaper, or from an AP story… no idea. I don’t remember the exact text of the article, or even the point of the article. I think it mentioned a few words that often come up when people think of long words, like antidisestablishmentarianism. And it mentioned that some scientific terms can be quite long. But then it mentioned a word, quite possibly made up right then and there, I don’t know, that I would remember forever:

antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian – noun – Person who hates long words

I loved it!!! A long word that meant a person who hates long words! How could any word be more wonderful than that!!!

My father explained the parts of it to me. (Or perhaps the article did, I don’t remember.) Anti – against, hyper – many, syllabic – having syllables, sesqui- one and a half, pedal – having feet, ian – relating to or a person who is. So, literally interpreting the roots, it is a person who is against words having many syllables that are a foot and a half long. Or something like that. That is all from memory, I have not properly researched it or anything. The details could be wrong.

Anyway, it is a wonderful word, and I can’t believe it is not used more often!

At a page on long words at The Straight Dope I found references to a few other long words. First one that seems related, hippopotomonstrosesquipidelian, which supposedly just means long. I find it no where near as appealing as antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian. Then the longest word in the original Oxford English Dictionary: floccinaucinihilipilification which is the classification of something as trivial. And the longerst word in the Oxford English Dictionary 2 which is the revised modern version of the work: neumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. And finally some scientific name of a specific protein which extends to 1913 letters which I shall not reproduce here.

Perhaps floccinaucinihilipilification comes close, but none of these have the same endearing quality as antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian. Antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian is a word that deserves to thrive and prosper, not wither away in obscurity.

Use it. Use it as often as possible. You know you have been in situations where it is needed. At least once a week, without even thinking of it, I use a word that someone around me does not know. They look quizically at me and repeat the word, and I have to explain what I meant using more common words. Sometimes they say something about using SAT words, or how sometimes the plainer word is better. (When in fact I know that the word I used often better conveys the meaning I intended… if only they knew it!)

In those situations, take the opportunity. Ask them what is wrong with them, are they antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian?

Use it online too! I will be honored to be the first and only hit on the web for a Google search on antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian. But how much better would it be to revive the use of this word. Use antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian in your writings and on your blogs! Lets turn no results on Google to one result. Then two. Then hundreds! Hey, perhaps I will make a graph!

Long live the word antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian!!

(But don’t be an antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian yourself, OK?)

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