Let’s talk about monster words. Can you think of some monstrously long words?
Apart from the name of ‘that Welsh town that’s almost impossible to pronounce’ (Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch), which has 58 letters, you’ll probably think of antidisestablishmentarianism (28 letters).
Monster words to scare us?
There’s also a range of medical conditions with long names, which almost certainly wouldn’t occur to you, such as pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters).
It’s a half made up word describing a specific lung disease caused by inhalation of silica or quartz dust.
In fact, long and complicated medical terms, such as this one, are often designed to sound intimidating. The word ‘silicosis’ already does the job really well.
In your everyday writing, it’s always better not to use the most complex or technical words in an effort to impress. If a simple word expresses exactly what you want to say, then use it.
Monster words – it’s a real fear
A real word for the fear of long words is sesquipedalophobia. It translates (from Latin) as ‘fear of words measuring a foot and a half”.
There’s another humorous name for the fear of long words. It was made up – and then made even longer – for effect.
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedalophobia (34 letters) means ‘fear of monstrous, hippopotamus-sized, foot and a half long words’.
Nonsense, really … but fun.
Don’t scare your readers with monster words. Keep it simple.
See more ways to Be Word Wise.