We are greatly amused by long and strange-sounding words. There are several extra-long words in English language. However, is found that some people have an abnormal fear of long words. This fear or phobia of long words is termed, ironically, as hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia; itself being one of the longest words in English language. Strange, you think? Read on for more startling information about this word, and the idiosyncrasies of the English language.

Sesquipedalophobia is the original word which means fear of long words. It is originated from ‘sesquipedalian’ meaning a long word. The inclusion of ‘Hippopotomonstro’ in the original word is used to represent the intensity of the phobia (as monstro means monster). On the contrary, some people believe that this word was created simply as an irony to represent the fear of long words and hence, it is never used professionally.

The following is the pronunciation of this fourteen syllable word.

There are several strange fears and phobias in the world. A phobia is defined as an anxiety disorder which is characterized by an abnormal or irrational fear of something or someone. Some people are found to be intimidated by long words that contain more letters or alphabets. The fear of long words may seem illogical to others, but there is always a definite reason for the cause of it, which may be any incident of the past. It has been observed that people having difficulty in spelling and pronouncing long words in the past, have chances of developing this phobia. Secondly, some people are more prone to anxiety and hence, can develop this phobia. Sesquipedalophobia is an equivalent term of hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, which also means fear of long words. In their conscious or sub-conscious mind, these people know that their fear is irrational, but the fear is hidden very deep in their minds and they cannot overcome it.

When a person suffering from this phobia is exposed to long words, he experiences the following symptoms. The symptoms can also vary from person to person. In some people, the symptoms of this condition are mild, while in some severe symptoms are observed. They include:

  • Extreme fear
  • Shaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Faster breathing rate
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Self-accusation
  • Palpitation
  • Panic attacks

One may wonder why is it necessary to undergo treatment for this phobia. The answer to it is that the symptoms mentioned above are seen in more severe conditions in some people. Also, panic attacks and the anxiety disorders have an adverse effect on a person’s personal and social relationships. Therefore, one should try to overcome this phobia as early as possible. There is no cure or treatment available to treat this phobia. The drugs that are available are simply meant to suppress the symptoms, and not to cure the condition completely. Therefore, people are advised against taking any drugs and medications. One can go for the different therapy programs that motivate the persons to overcome this phobia. A self motivated person can be successful in overcoming this fear if he tries and wishes to change. Therapies aim in changing people’s perceptions by modifying the thoughts of the subconscious or unconscious minds.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, whether a formally used word or not, is one of the strangest and queerest phobias in the world today! However, if you are the one with it, you can look out for help as there are several means of conquering this phobia. Ciao!