Surface form analyzed as sesquipedalian +‎ -ism, from sesqui- ‎(one and a half) +‎ pedalian ‎(of the foot).

From Latin sesquipedalis ‎(a foot and a half long; in metaphorical use, “of an unnatural length, huge, big”), from sesqui ‎(one and a half times as great) + pedalis ‎(foot).[1]


  • (UK) IPA(key): /sɛz.kwɪ.pəˈdɛl.i.ən.ɪsm̩/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌsɛskwəpəˈdeɪliənɪzm̩/
  • (file)


sesquipedalianism ‎(plural sesquipedalianisms)

  1. (uncountable) The practice of using long, sometimes obscure, words in speech or writing.
    • 1995, Michael Cart, From Romance to Realism, ISBN 0060242892, page 257:
      His voice here is a marvelous juxtaposition of cool elegance, unaffected hipness, unabashed sesquipedalianism ("the rich bouquet of exuded sebaceousness") and swell conversational slang (...)
  2. (countable) A very long word.

Related termsEdit


  1. ^ From A New and Copious Lexicon of the Latin Language, Compiled Chiefly from the Magnum Totius Latinitatis Lexicon of Facciolati and Forcellini, and the German Works of Scheller and Luenemann, edited by F. P. Leverett, Wilkins, Carter & Co., Boston, 1849.
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