‘Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia’: From Shashi Tharoor’s dictionary, a warning on the fear of long words

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New Delhi | Published: October 11, 2018 4:06:59 PM

Shashi Tharoor is known to use words that often drag people to seek the help of dictionaries.

Shashi Tharoor,congress leader shahsi tharoor, shashi tharoor usage of words, shashi tharoor HippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobiaShashi Tharoor (PTI)

Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is known to use words that often drag people to seek the help of dictionaries. While talking about his new book, ‘The Paradoxical Prime Minister’, his use of the word “Floccinaucinihilipilification” did exactly that. The Oxford dictionary describes the use of the word “Floccinaucinihilipilification” as “the action or habit of estimating something as worthless.” Tharor also tried to make his readers understand the word by pronouncing it in an audio clip.

While people were still trying to cope with the damage that Shashi Tharoor had inflicted upon the unassuming average Indian, the Congress MP from Kerala dropped another bombshell. In his description of the word “floccinaucinihilipilification”, Tharoor used another mind-bender – Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia.

Going through the dictionary, you will find the word ‘Hippopotamine’ being referred to as “something very large”. The word “monstr” has come from the Latin origin of ‘monstrous being’ which means something which is very large or terrifying and ‘sesquippedalio’ originates from the Latin word sesquippedali which means ‘measurement of a foot and a half long’. Phobos stands for morbid fear.

Last year in December, he used the word ‘rodomontade’, which means inflated talk or behaviour. “I choose my words because they are the best ones for the idea I want to convey, not the most obscure or rodomontade ones!” he had tweeted. In February this year, he came up with ‘troglodytes’ on Twitter responding to Vinay Katiyar’s comment on the Taj Mahal. “We can’t let these troglodytes destroy our country & everything beautiful in it,” he had tweeted.

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