The Phrontistery

Sesquipedalian Words

I have from time to time been accused of being sesquipedalian or lexiphanic - in other (shorter) words, having the tendency to use long words, especially when a short word will do. I don't think that's quite fair, insofar as I don't think I use such long words unnecessarily. But no matter - some folks seem to think that any words with more than one syllable are too long. Anyway, the following list is a non-systematic collection of all the words in the International House of Logorrhea, my rare-words dictionary, that have 16 letters or more. That runs to just over 100 words, or less than one percent of the whole list. English being what it is, it's very often possible to add more suffixes and prefixes to long words to make them even longer, especially when the words in question are derived from classical languages. The very longest words on this list (22 letters or longer) are almost all either nonce-words, created by an author for a one-time and often humorous purpose, and/or occur today largely in lists of long words such as this one. I'm not sure that anyone ever wrote or said antidisestablishmentarianism except as a demonstration of its length!

Word Definition Length
anopisthographicbearing writing or inscription only on one side16
antidisestablishmentarianismdoctrine opposed to removing Church of England's official religion status28
antilapsarianismdenial of doctrine of the fall of humanity16
arachibutyrophobiafear of peanut butter sticking to roof of mouth18
archididascalianof, like or pertaining to headmasters16
astrometeorologystudy of effect of stars on climate16
autothaumaturgistperson pretending to be mystical or mysterious17
ballistocardiographinstrument for detecting body movements caused by heartbeat19
bathyorographicalof, like or pertaining to depth underwater or elevation above sea level17
bathythermographinstrument for recording water temperature as compared to depth16
brachycatalecticlacking two syllables from end of a line of verse16
chiropterophilouspollinated or frequented by bats17
chromatoptometerinstrument measuring eyes' sensitivity to colour16
chronosynchronicitypresentation of all stages of a person's life in a single piece of art19
chryselephantineinlaid with gold and ivory16
chrysoaristocracygovernment by the wealthy; plutocracy17
contradistinguishto distinguish by contrasting qualities17
crystallogenesisproduction of crystals16
dendrochronologystudy of tree rings16
electrocardiographinstrument for recording unusual electrical fluctuations of the heart18
electrochemistrystudy of relations between electricity and chemicals16
electrodynamometerinstrument for measuring electrical current18
electroencephalographinstrument for measuring the brain's electrical impulses21
electroretinographinstrument for measuring electrical activity in the retina18
epiphenomenalismdoctrine that mental processes are epiphenomena of brain activity16
ethnomethodologystudy of everyday communication16
floccinaucinihilipilificationsetting at little or no value29
gastroenterologystudy of stomach; intestines16
gynotikolobomassophileone who nibbles on women's earlobes22
hydrometeorologystudy of atmospheric moisture16
hypertrichologistperson who treats unsightly facial hair17
iatromathematicsarchaic practice of medicine in conjunction with astrology16
ichthyoacanthotoxismpoisoning from the sting or bite of a fish20
ichthyocoprolitefossilized fish poop16
interfenestrationspacing of windows17
interramificationinterweaving of branches17
intertesselationcomplex interrelationship16
introspectionismdoctrine that knowledge of mind must derive from introspection16
kakorrhaphiophobiafear of failure18
knick-knackatorycollection of knick-knacks16
latitudinarianismdoctrine of broad liberality in religious belief and conduct17
maschalephidrosismassive sweating of the armpits17
microcalorimeterinstrument for measuring tiny quantities of heat16
microclimatologystudy of local climates16
micropalaeontologystudy of microscopic fossils18
microseismographinstrument for recording small or distant earthquakes16
microseismometerinstrument for measuring small or distant earthquakes16
onychotillomaniacompulsive picking at the fingernails16
otorhinolaryngologystudy of ear, nose and throat19
palaeoanthropologystudy of early humans18
palaeoclimatologystudy of ancient climates17
pantochronometercombined sundial and compass16
penecontemporaneousof geological processes occurring immediately after deposition19
perpilocutionistone who speaks through his hat16
philoprogenitiveof, like or pertaining to instinctive love for offspring16
photopolarimeterinstrument for measuring intensity and polarization of reflected light16
physiophilosophysystem of knowledge concerning principles of natural history16
pneumatophilosophyphilosophy of spirits or the spirit world18
podobromhydrosissmelly feet16
polyphiloprogenitivevery fertile; very imaginative20
polysyllabilingualrelating to polysyllabic languages18
porphyrogenitureaccession of 1st son born after father's accession16
precipitinogeniccausing precipitation16
predestinarianismbelief that what ever is to happen is already fixed17
pseudoautochiriamurder disguised as suicide16
pseudochromaesthesiamental association of sounds with colours20
psychopannychismbelief souls sleep from death to resurrection16
psychroaesthesiasensation of cold in part of body that is actually warm16
quadragesimarianone who observes Lent16
quadragintesimalforty-fold; having forty parts16
quasquicentennialone hundred twenty-fifth anniversary17
quindecasyllabichaving fifteen syllables16
quingentumvirategovernment by five hundred individuals16
quoddamodotativeexisting in a certain manner16
quodlibetificateto quibble with16
radappertizationtreatment of food with ionizing radiation to kill bacteria16
radiometeorographinstrument for measuring atmospheric conditions at high altitude17
representationalismdoctrine that ideas rather than external objects are basis of knowledge19
rhinotillexomaniacompulsive nose picking17
sacramentarianismbelief that sacraments have unusual properties17
self-determinismdoctrine that the actions of a self are determined by itself16
spectrofluorimeterinstrument for measuring and recording fluorescence spectra18
spectroheliographinstrument for taking pictures of the sun17
spectroheliokinematographcamera for taking pictures of the sun25
spectrohelioscopeinstrument for viewing solar disc in light of a single wavelength17
spectrophotometerinstrument for measuring speed of different parts of light spectrum17
sphygmomanometerinstrument for measuring arterial blood pressure16
syncategorematicmeaningless or unable to form a term without other words16
telespectroscopeinstrument for analysing radiation omitted by distant bodies16
tephrochronologydating of volcanic eruptions by studying layers of ash16
tetrakishexahedroncube with pyramid erected on each face18
theanthroposophysystem of belief concerning Christ as god and man16
theophilanthropismlove of both God and humanity18
thermokinematicsstudy of motion of heat16
thermometrographinstrument for recording changes in temperature16
lautenclavicymbellute harpsichord with gut strings17
transcendentalismtheory that emphasizes that which transcends perception17
transmigrationismbelief that soul passes into other body at death17
transubstantiationmiraculous changing of bread and wine into body and blood of Christ18
triboluminescenceemission of light caused by friction17
trichotillomanianeurosis where patient pulls out own hair16
triskaidekaphobiafear of the number thirteen17
xenodocheionologylove of hotels17
zenzizenzizenziceighth power of a number16

I hope you have found this site to be useful. If you have any corrections, additions, or comments, please contact me. Please note that I am not able to respond to all requests. Please consult a major dictionary before e-mailing your query. All material on this page © 1996-2014 Stephen Chrisomalis. Links to this page may be made without permission.

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