30-Second Word Whoop: “Sesquipedalian”
This site is no dictionary.com. We prefer to “riff” on words rather than act as an authority or stretch your vocabulary. Still, sometimes we run into a stretttttttttchy word like “sesquipedalian” that stops us short.
“Sesquipedalian” may sound like a six-footed monster or belabored joke, but surprise! The definition:
1. given to using long words.
2. (of a word) containing many syllables.
3. a sesquipedalian word.
Literally, it means “a foot and a half long.” Let’s break it down: sesqui- comes directly from the Latin sesqui (“one and a half”); + pedal, from Latin pedis, form of pes (“foot”), + adjective suffix –alis or in this case -ian.
In order for “sesquipedalian” to be truly a foot and a half long, it would have to be written in 74-point type. I know, because I tested it.
Sesquipedalian is not a great Twitter word. At 14 characters, it would take up a tenth of your tweet. You’d think I could get away with tweeting out 10 sesquipedalians at once but, because of spaces, Twitter restricts me to eight. It works without spaces, but it’s a little hard to read that way. I know, because I tested it.
Of course, you are what words you use. Meaning: using the word “sesquipedalian” could make you it. Nyah-nyah.