• IPA: /ˌsɛskwɪpɪˈdeɪlɪən/

sesquipedalian (plural sesquipedalians)

  1. A long word.
    • 1830, On the Art of Rising in Prose The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, part 2, v. 29, Henry Colburn and Co., page: 162:
      “The fine old fellow,” as a Northern contemporary of ours patronizingly calls him, certainly rolled out his sesquipedalians with a majesty previously unknown, and gave a fine organ-like swell to his full-blow periods;
    • 1927, John S. Farmer, William Ernest Henley, A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English: Abridged from the Seven-volume Work, Entitled "Slang and Its Analogues", Taylor & Francis, page: 164:
      Fleet-streetese, the so-called English written to sell by the Fleet-streeter (q.v.), or baser sort of journalist: a mixture of sesquipedalians and slang, of phrases worn threadbare and phrases sprung from the kennel;
    • 1952, Hannah More, Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, page: 220:
      ‘Sometimes we converse in ballad-rhymes, sometimes in Johnsonian sesquipedalians; at tea we condescend to riddles and charades.’
  2. A person who uses long words.
    • 2008, Richard Dawkins, The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing,Oxford University Press, page: 106:
      Word-watchers, verbivores, and sesquipedalians love a challenge.
    • 2009, Sally Adams, Wynford Hicks, Interviewing for Journalists, Taylor & Francis, page: 97:
      ‘What sort of writer is the English professor looking for?’ / ‘He wants a sesquipedalian, of course.’
    • 2012, Jonathan Herring, How to Argue: Powerfully, Persuasively, Positively, FT Press, chapter 8, page: ?:
      Don’t be a sesquipedalian! / Yes, you guessed right. A sesquipedalian is a person who enjoys long words.
  • German: ellenlanges Wort schwülstiger Begriff (derogatory), Wortungetüm
  • German: Mensch der ellenlangen Worte, Mensch mit Vorliebe für ellenlange Wörter schwülstig daherredender Mensch (derogatory)


  1. (of a word or words) Long; polysyllabic.
    The most common use of "antidisestablishmentarianism" is as an example of a sesquipedalian word.
  2. Pertaining to or given to the use of overly long words.
    Our dinner guest was so sesquipedalian that no one could understand what he said.
  • (of long words) polysyllabic
  • (given to the use of long words) seeSynonyms en
Antonyms Related terms Translations Translations
  • German: zu ellenlangen Worten neigend, sich umständlich ausdrückend, schwülstig daherredend (derogatory)
  • Italian: sesquipedale

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