The Fear of Sesquipedalia: Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

Walking into the doctor’s office, awaiting the doctor’s diagnosis, only to faint midway through the doctor’s words, one can only imagine the horror of discovering they have a fear of long words. You are sitting on the edge of your seat, sweat on your brow, your legs shaking uncontrollably, nervous of what is to come out of your doctor’s mouth. He is only halfway through saying, “I’m afraid you have hippopotomonstros—,” when, suddenly, you pass out.

And that, my friends, is why hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, the fear of long words, is frankly stupid. It should be noted that this humorously long word is not official, being that the legitimate fear of long words is actually sesquipedalophobia. Regardless, this attempt at creating a behemoth of a word is based on its roots, each of which is used as a qualifier referring to something big, e.g., hippopoto from hippopotamus, a large mammal; monstro from monstrous or something frighteninly big; and, most notably, sesquipedalia, which plainly means big words.


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