Fearsome Friday – Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia also known as Sesquippedalophobia

What is it?

It is fear of long words. No I am not joking. You can google it and you will find it.

Wikipedia has listed Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia as a jocular or fictional phobia.

The fear of long words however is a real fear. I have come across a few case studies where people appear to have intense physical reactions when they are faced with reading, writing or saying long words. A few of those people said the fear stemmed from childhood where they suffered from a learning difficulty or speech impediment that made long words harder to cope with than small ones.




About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a primary and middle school teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three and a wannabe author.
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4 Responses to Fearsome Friday – Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia

  1. pattisj says:

    Mary Poppins apparently didn’t suffer from that.

  2. Mina says:

    I think I have that symptom actually, and it is true that it was from experience having difficulties in school. Often, we are judged by the words we say, so I think this may also explain why there is a fear of long words. No one wants to appear ignorant in front of others, so I think everyone may have had some experience with “hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia” (Whew! Typed it! …I misspelled something, didn’t I??), even those who have extensive vocabulary.

    • I am actually dyslexic (I know it is an odd thing for a former primary school teacher and writer to say) and as a child I could read really well but struggled spelling words. It went undiagnosed until I was nearly in my teens. Once it was diagnosed I learned great coping mechanisms which helped me tremendously. I guess I probably feared long words back then. I think you are right most people probably can relate to this to some degree.

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