A jocular coinage, apparently by pupils at Eton College, combining a number of roughly synonymous Latin stems. The word was inspired by a line in the Eton Latin Grammar that gave a rule for certain verbs that take an object in the genitive case: “flocci, nauci, nihilī, pilī, assis, huius, teruncii, hīs verbīs, aestimō, pendō, faciō, pecūliāriter adduntur”. This translates loosely to: “The verbs aestimo, pendo and facio when used in the sense of ‘to value’ or ‘to care’ irregularly take the following objects in the genitive case: flocci, nauci, nihilī, pilī, assis (“penny”), huius (“this”) and teruncii (“farthing”)”.
- IPA(key): /ˌflɒksɪˌnɔːsɪˌnaɪhɪlɪˌpɪlɪfɪˈkeɪʃən/, /ˌflɒksɪˌnɒsɪˌnɪhɪlɪˌpɪlɪfɪˈkeɪʃən/
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- (often humorous) The act or habit of describing or regarding something as unimportant, of having no value or being worthless.
1741, William Shenstone, Letters:
- I loved him for nothing so much as his flocci-nauci-nihili-pili-fication of money.
1970, Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander:
- There is a systematic flocci-nauci-nihili-pilification of all other aspects of existence that angers me.
2000, Raymond J. Chambers, Logic, Law, and Ethics:
- Floccinaucinihilipilification in accounting - does it matter?
2006, Sol Steinmetz, The life of language:
- They must be taken with an air of contempt, a floccinaucinihilipilification of all that can gratify the outward man.
2009, Judith Orloff, Emotional Freedom:
- Some people with low self-esteem are prone to floccinaucinihilipilification, the habit of deeming everything worthless.
2011, Bruce Ratner, Statistical and Machine-Learning Data Mining:
- The quasi statistician would doubtlessly not know how to check this supposition, thus rendering the interpretation of the mean profit as floccinaucinihilipilification.
Often cited as the longest non-technical word in the English language, being one letter longer than the commonly cited antidisestablishmentarianism. In the debate on the remuneration of EU staff, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg used the word on 21st February 2012 making it the longest word ever used in the British House of Commons.