Friday, June 10, 2011

Sesquipedaliophobia

It's summer and I've got some stir-crazy kidlets at my house, so I'm making this one short and sweet. (How ironic! Read on.)

What is that word up there?

Sesquipedaliophobia, or it's longer version, hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia means "fear of long words."

Seriously.

Hmm. That's only slightly less hard to pronounce than "Mxyzptlk."

What about you? Do you shy away from complicated, long words in your writing?

Or if you don't care to answer that question, don't you think those words sound like some horrible disease complete with itchy rash?

55 comments:

Clarissa Draper said...

I don't mind long words in my fiction but I'm told it's best to keep words simple to improve flow.

Candyland said...

Ugh. I'm just going to stick with short answers and words. Like YES. I hate long words (esp. trying to spell them)!

Laura Pauling said...

I was going to say fear of squid. :)

Miranda Hardy said...

The irony of the phobia is great! I shy away from large, often not used words, since I write YA, but I've also heard that adult readers get irritated if they have to look up the meaning of too many words, and often put the book down when the frustration builds.

-E- said...

the longest word in the OED is floccinaucinihilipilification. i've considered putting it in an essay as a joke, but you're right that in english overly long words tend to distract the reader. the germans don't seem to have this hang-up though.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Sometimes the only word I can think of is the long one, which isn't so bad with the writing, but stinks in everyday conversation. I can edit the writing before it touches other human beings, but once it's out of my mouth, no matter how strange the looks, I can't take it back.

salarsenッ said...

#hangsheadandhides Seriously, the moment I saw that word my face lit up and I got a jolt in my gut. I love to check out words I'm unfamiliar with. Yeah, my reflection in the mirror says 'geekoid'.

Libby said...

I shy away from this long word, definitely!

Sarah said...

Sigh. Long words are my default, actually. When I'm tired or am not focusing, I tend to use longer or more jargonny words because I find them more parsimonious. The downside: people's eyes glaze over. So I guess I probably don't have this phobia. Perhaps I should try to acquire it.

Old Kitty said...

I would love to use that long word somewhere!! LOL!!

I shy away from words whose meanings I'm not 100% sure of. I'll need to consult loads of dictionaries and thesaurus to be certain and even then I'd opt for the easier word option!

Take care
x

storyqueen said...

yup...I definitely shy away from long words! I don''t know if it's that I don't like to say them or type them!

Shelley

Emy Shin said...

I totally want to use this word whenever I can now! :D

I personally use shorter words in my writing. Except when it comes to academic papers. For those, I go all out.

Carol Kilgore said...

Short and sweet.
Happy Weekend!

E. Arroyo said...

LOL. I wasn't exposed to a lot of words growing up...okay, a lot of "grown-up" words. I'm catching up.

ensouling said...

I do a mix, actually. For quite awhile, I chose simpler words. Now I do both.

I love books that occasionally give me a word to learn as long as it's not constant. So the choices need to be judicious.

Linda Gray said...

Long words can be so fun to write, but not so fun to read! Darn. I'm on a search for a better vocabulary in writing, though: fewer (and yes, shorter) words to convey meaning, but not necessarily simple ones.

Bossy Betty said...

Ohhhh. that is a great word--but it sort of scares me too...

mooderino said...

These sorts of words turn invisible for me, i skip them when reading - if it appears again I can recognise it as the word from before but I won't bother trying to pronounce it in my head. I'm the same with vowel free names in sci-fi and fantasy stories. And the whole of the German language.

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino

Suze said...

I never shy away from words-- long words, short words, bad words, weird words. The word is my oyster, too! ;)

Rachna Chhabria said...

I have been told many times by my editor that I use too many long words. I consciously avoid that especially when I write for children. In my articles and features for the newspapers, I go berserk with the long words.

Olga said...

Did you know that you're very funny? I'm astounded at the variety of subjects in your mind that are able to make me laugh loudly.

Elouise82 said...

I love long words. I love obscure words. I love words that used to be part of everyday language and aren't anymore. I'm a language nut.

But I try not to use too many of any of the above in my writing, for fear of off-putting the readers. Although I do find that words I think are perfectly normal sometimes leave people scratching their heads (who knew "largess" was such an unusual word? I thought everyone knew what that meant!), so it's a good thing I have beta readers who are less word-nerdy than I.

Em-Musing said...

Yes. :)

Heather said...

I don't mind long words, though those two are pushing the limit. ;) And yep, they totally sound like a disease that comes with an itchy rash.

Matthew MacNish said...

This is awesome. It's like a paradox. Well ... okay, not really.

Krispy said...

Those are amazing words. I have no idea how to pronounce any of them, but I am impressed.

It's not so much avoiding long words in writing as avoiding really long/how-to-pronounce names. When I come across something like that, my eyes start skipping over it.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I wish my phobia was that of long words and not the phobia I have.

Have a good week-end.
Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm not afraid to use big words when speaking but decided to keep it simple for my writing.

Meredith said...

Haha, that's awful! I write YA, so I don't tend to use too many big words, mainly because they wouldn't fit with my voice.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thanks for your visit, also comment, I got my pics mixed up what should have been a scene of somewhere between Toronto and Philadephia turned out as you mentioned NY. NY is my next stop so must have clicked on the wrong pic, thanks for pointing it out,.
That was a long journey that day.

Yvonne.,

Karen Lange said...

I figured they were some medical terms! :) I prefer not to use complicated words when I write. I figure I want people to follow easily, and if it's not something I think most readers would know, I skip it.

Have a great weekend!

Stephen Tremp said...

When I get to this point, I think of the word "hijinx" the only word in the English language with three consecutive dotted letters.

Alleged Author said...

I do shy away from complicated words in my writing. It has more to do with my fear of the vocab hindering a MG voice. Great post!

Connie said...

I love long complicated words--I collect them as if they were knick-knacks. But I don't use them in my writing--I think that they often draw attention to themselves and away from the narrative.

Munk said...

Lydia,
Youaresofuckingfreakingmeoutrightnow.

vbtremper said...

Quite the opposite, actually. I have a bad habit of using long words in conversation and in my writing. Friends used to tell me that conversations with me improved their vocabulary. Now they probably just call me annoying behind my back (but that's another pathology - LOL).

-Vicki

vbtremper said...

Quite the opposite, actually. I have a bad habit of using long words in conversation and in my writing. Friends used to tell me that conversations with me improved their vocabulary. Now they probably just call me annoying behind my back (but that's another pathology - LOL).

-Vicki

Ciara said...

I think I'll stay away from words that are obnoxious to a reader. I'm thinking this might be one of them. :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

I was actually talking with a friend today about the fact that I appreciate authors like Brandon Mull who uses big words in his middle grade fiction. I think when kids can subconsciously figure out the meaning through context it aids their vocabulary and I like when authors challenge kids that way.

That being said, I don't think sesquipedaliophobia is going to be entering my vocabulary anytime soon!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

If anything would give me fear of long words it's that one!!!
Thanks for a weekend smile.

LeishaMaw said...

They do sound like a rash should be involved. I admit, though, when I see REALLY long words like hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia I stop reading about five letters in. So now whenever I see the word hippo I might get scared of long words. :)

Raquel Byrnes said...

Affirmative. I absolutely eschew obfuscation.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Catherine Stine said...

I like to throw in some spicy esoteric words n my manuscripts here and there. Young adults can always benefit from being tested a bit. Hey, thanks fro posting. I'm following you now. Cheers!

Jayne said...

Funny! I agonize over long words. Seriously. I must have the phobia. Hell, I've so many, what's one more? ;)

Leslie Rose said...

Sometimes those long words are a tasty character reveal. Sometimes they just make your eyes roll up in your head. Good luck with conquering summer kid boredom.

Len Lambert said...

hi Lydia! LOL I love this post. I follow one rule in my writing: If I can't read it, I can't pronounce it. If I can't pronounce it, I won't remember the word so I can't write it. So I don't go for complicated words. But I do consult the thesaurus to use better words :) Thanks for sharing! :)

Katie Gates said...

I find that in my writing, I often use words that I NEVER use in my speaking. Sometimes, I even have to look them up to make sure the context is correct. It's interesting -- apparently, I have two sets of vocabulary. One is audio and the other is visual.

Theresa Milstein said...

That's ridiculous to make such a long word about having a fear of long words. How will the person with the fear be able to say the name of their disease? Unless that's the treatment - say the name and get over the fear!

Beth said...

I try to keep my writing as simple as possible. (Sometimes I have to take out those $100 words in my first revision and replace them with something much simpler!)

K.V. Briar said...

Since I write for YA and MG I try to keep my writing simple and stay true to what my characters would say. Why use a big complicated word when a small one would do just as nicely? Although in real life I have a fondness of finding new words (the more antiquated the better) and using them to the utter confusion of my family :)

lbdiamond said...

Lol!

catherinemjohnson said...

Now you'll have to do a blogfest and make us all use that word lol.

I took out some three-syllable words from my rhyming WIP because the meter just wasn't perfect, so hard to do when you want them in.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Lydia,

What a longish word. I'd be frightened to use this long a word for scaring away readers!

levian said...

haha! i find these words fascinating! it's not so often we are able to come across such "intimidating" words n wonder if there are really such words exist! :)

M Pax said...

Now I itch. That word is enough to put fear of long words into anybody. lol

 
ALL CONTENT © 2012 THE WORD IS MY OYSTER / BLOG DESIGN © 2012 SMITTEN BLOG DESIGNS