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What Is The Phobia Of Long Words

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What Is Sesquipedalophobia

How to Pronounce Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia? (FEAR of LONG WORDS) Meaning & Pronunciation

In this blog we will discuss the symptoms, causes and treatment of Sesquipedalophobia.

The fear of long words is called as Sesquipedalophobia.

People suffering from this type of phobia experience extreme anxiety when they encounter a long word, for example in a book.

This anxiety can lead to one undergoing panic attacks if the anxiety worsens.;

This extreme anxiety and panic attacks can occur not only when one sees a long word, but just the thought of seeing or reading them can also cause intense fear.

According to the DSM-V, one must experience extreme anxiety lasting for at least 6 months, to be diagnosed with Sesquipedalophobia.;

As the DSM-V suggest, this anxiety affects ones social and occupational functioning.

For instance, a child with Sesquipedalophobia will not be able to read words in a book or novel at school or otherwise.

This can be a reason for his low grades or less friends, as children might see him as different and will less likely be friends with him.

This can also be because of the panic attacks the child might undergo in class, as other students might get afraid of him.;

The inability to read long words not only holds back a child from excelling in his academic life but also, as an adult.

One might not be able to work at a particular job because of his fear of long words, which he may encounter when assigned tasks of writing or reading.

This can lower his self-confidence, persuading him to leave the town out of shame.;;

This word itself is very long.;

What Are The Symptoms

Symptoms may be triggered when a person sees a long word, such as antidisestablishmentarianism. This can cause a person with hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia to feel fear and anxiety. They may also avoid reading so they dont have to come across long words thatll cause them to panic.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the fear of long words can trigger embarrassment or feelings of being mocked when pronouncing or reading long words.

Other symptoms can include:

  • avoiding reading because of your fear
  • feeling distressed over academics or work involving long words

There are also more general phobia symptoms that you could watch out for, including:

  • being aware that your phobia is unreasonable, but feeling powerless to control your fear
  • unable to function as you normally would because of your phobia
  • feeling nauseated

Not much is known about the causes this phobia. But there are some causes and risk factors that are common across multiple phobias.

These include:

Sesquipedalophobia The Fear Of Long Words Explained

While the coronavirus outbreak has made almost everyone germophobic , there are people who suffer from more than 500 different types of phobia all over the world. For example, some people have hydrophobia , claustrophobia , aviophobia , arachnophobia , and so on. One such phobia is sesquipedalophobia the fear of long words.

The fear of long words might sound strange, and to some people, its even funny. They believe theres no such thing as sesquipedalophobia. But the fear of long words is very much real indeed. Yes, its a bit irrational, but it does exist, nonetheless.

People with long words phobia might experience a great deal of anxiety when they come across significantly long words. This can hinder their ability to read, learn, or write. It can even culminate into a fear of public speaking, keep them from developing a love for reading, and have similar undesirable effects in other areas of life.

If you think you have a phobia of long words, you have certainly come to the right place.

In this comprehensive guide to overcoming sesquipedalophobia, we discuss everything you might want to know about the fear of long words. This includes its symptoms, causes, treatment options, and lots of other information about fear and anxiety in general. And in case you happen to be among those who think that the long words phobia is overexaggerated, the revelations in the following article will surely make for an interesting read.

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Common Causes And Triggers Of Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

There are a large variety of reasons that cause or trigger the fear of long words. But the most prominent ones are are:

  • Upbringing People who are raised by people that either are afraid, or have transmitted a sense of uncertainty or danger related to long words, might experience hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia most commonly.
  • Past Experience It might be also induced, or suggested from people that might have had bad past experiences with/in long words.
  • Genetics A persons ancestors that have been fearful of long words were probably more likely to survive and pass down these fearful genes to their children and so on.

If A Friend Has Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia


Before you beg them to see a therapist, you can try a little therapy of your own just to see if it drives them even crazier than they already are. If it doesnt, it may cure them. Give them this article to read aloud, and dont let them stop until theyve gone through the whole thing. If they can get past Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch without having a fit, theres hope. If they can actually pronounce it correctly, I would love to meet them.

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What Causes Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

When we develop a phobia, it generally surfaces as a reaction to something that the brain perceived to be dangerous or deadly. The same can be said for a phobia relating to big words. If this phobia of words is severe enough, the person will experience feelings of anxiety when confronted with a big word. This very post may be terrifying to you right now, what with so many instances of hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia being used.

No one is born with hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. It is a learned fear that stems from a traumatic event. Most people who have hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia had no idea when their fear started or what caused it. However, some of us may be more vulnerable to developing a phobia if someone in our family experienced an extreme fear of something. A vulnerability to phobias can be an inherited or genetic trait, though the phobias themselves may differ among family members.

One possible reason for developing such a phobia may trace back to a child being mocked for reading a passage in front of the class and mispronouncing a larger word, or an adult experiencing the same situation while giving a presentation at work. They may have reacted with sweating, shaking, and a racing heartbeatall signs of anxiety.

Once this reaction has been established in the brain, the mind then continues to perpetuate the fear at various points throughout the persons life without any reasonable explanation for doing so.

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Youre one of around 16 percent of people who experience something called trypophobia the irrational fear of holes. So researchers at Emory University set out to study the fear response in relation to clusters of holes. Go to my Profile and you can find all about Anxiety Disorder and Phobias material there

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Fear Of Long Words Causes

Most phobias, including the phobia of long words, are caused by an event that is recorded in the two particular parts of the brain called the amygdala and hippocampus, as terrifying or intimidating.

Repetition of such conditions triggers the same anxiety by bringing back the memory of the original stressful event.

A phobia is not a congenital condition. A toddler is not scared of heights or afraid of long words. It is acquired with unpleasant experiences during the course of life and sometimes even due to terrifying stories heard from others.

In fact, sometimes it is even hard to remember the event that led to developing a Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.

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What Causes The Fear Of Long Words

The Fear Of Long Words

Unlike most of the other types of phobia, sesquipedalophobia is relatively rare. Therefore, theres a lack of research as to what causes this fear in people. Many people suffering from this problem dont usually remember how it started.

However, one thing is known for certain: no one is born with sesquipedalophobia.

The fear of long words is generally acquired by past events or memories that your brain recorded as unpleasant, embarrassing, or perhaps even dangerous.

The following is a more in-depth look at the different factors that can lead to the development of hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.

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How To Pronounce The Fear Of Long Words

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The fear of long words is ironically called hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia. It may seem daunting at first, but if you take your time and break the word up into pieces, it is actually quite easy to pronounce, some might think this phobia is made up but quite frankly it is the official fear of long words.

Whats Behind This Phobia

What is a fear of long words? You just asked a mouthful.

One of the most difficult parts of dealing with this condition is simply getting people to take it seriously. How can someone be afraid of long words? Are you just saying that because youre bad at Scrabble? The queries and comedy can come thick and fast, but for you, its anything but funny and all too real.

So, if youve felt silly for fearing long words, this is your validationat least somewhat. The American Psychiatric Association does not recognize the condition as a distinct phobia in its own right. Rather, they note it as a social phobia, which is an umbrella term used for a wide range of potential phobias resulting from subjective triggers rooted in your surroundings. These tend to be different for every patient, so your form of sesquipedalophobia is bound to be different than anyone else who suffers from a fear of long words.

Related social phobias connected to words include the fear of books, bibliophobia, and the fear of poetry, metrophobia.

Some of the most common signs of a social phobia include having anxiety about a particular social situation, which is disproportionate to the issue in question. You may be anxious about reading books and sharing what you read with others. However, if Pride and Prejudice and poetry leave you screaming for the hills, this might be an overreaction to a stimulus .

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Managing The Fear Of Long Words

For many people, the fear of long words is mild. If your phobia doesn’t significantly impact your life, making a conscious effort to expand your vocabulary can help. Look for opportunities to learn new words through reading or everyday conversation. If you come across an unfamiliar word, look it up. In many cases, familiarity can ease the symptoms of anxiety.

If your symptoms are more serious and are impacting your daily life, professional assistance may be needed. A mental health professional can help you work through your fears and provide coping strategies for managing your symptoms during the treatment process.

Origin Of The Word Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia


Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia can be divided into several parts to know its etymology.

According to the oxford dictionary, Hippopotamine is used to refer to something very large or big.

The other word is monstr is a Latin word which means, monstrous being or something that is huge and scary.

Sesquippedalio is also a Latin word, Sesquippedali which means measuring a foot and a half long.

And lastly, Phobia, a Greek word which is originally derived from Phobos, meaning fear or horror.

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The Hipopotomonstrosesquipedaliofobia Is One Of The Longest Words In The Dictionary And In An Ironic Twist Is The Name Given To The Fear Of Long Words

The American Psychiatric Association does not officially recognize this phobia.;In contrast, hypopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia;;is considered a social phobia.

The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders makes a very specific definition for social phobias.

Medical professionals use this manual to help them make diagnoses.;According to the manual, some of the criteria that social phobias should meet include:

  • A distinct fear or anxiety about social situations where a person may be examined, such as meeting new people or having a conversation.
  • The fear or anxiety are disproportionate to the social situation.
  • The fear or anxiety is persistent and the social situation is avoided excessively.
  • Fear, anxiety, or avoidance causes distress.

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Effects Of This Phobia

Sesquipedalophobia can affect your life in a variety of ways. For example, you may avoid public speaking altogether, which can severely damage your work and social prospects. Not being able to read long books will also seriously sabotage any academic aspirations you may have. Given the correlation between university education and income, a fear of long words can damage your long-term financial opportunities and severely limit your livelihood.

Some Of The Most Common Symptoms Of Social Phobias

Fear of long words

The following is a list of some, though not all, of the most common symptoms associated with social phobias:

Trembling Difficulty breathing

Given the fact that everyone experiences social phobias differently, your symptoms may vary wildly.

In the case of this particular phobia, long words and books that you think may contain them can cause you severe anxiety. While those exaggeratedly long words at the beginning of the article are done for effect and not serious, they can nevertheless give anxiety to sufferers of this condition. They may fear pronouncing the words incorrectly and facing social consequences. As a social phobia, fear of public shaming and mockery stemming from mispronouncing words or sounding stupid are among the biggest symptoms and effects of sesquipedalophobia.

The aforementioned symptoms are for general social phobias because, again, social phobias are highly subjective and notoriously difficult to pin down with specific symptoms for each one.

The closest we come with cases such as sesquipedalophobia is a tendency to avoid books, especially those you suspect may have long words. In severe cases, that fear of books and long words may even result in nausea. However much we love to rip into nauseatingly bad books, this shouldnt cause you physical symptoms.

Additionally, people with this condition may perpetually seek excuses not to read books, especially in public.

So, there you have it!

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Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia And Other Phobias

If you think a fear of long words is a strange phobia to have, there are some even stranger ones that presumably present a real problem for a few people. Phobias are irrational fears, so we tend to make fun of people who have them. I realize this is rather cruel, but lets take a short foray into political incorrectness and look at some of the odder ones. If you dont suffer from them, you may find it amusing.

Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, is actually quite common, especially among children.

Hylophobia is the fear of trees wood you believe it? I blame the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales. Kids shouldnt read such scary stuff. Admittedly, I read their stories in the directly translated form as a child, and I loved the gruesome bits most of all.

Omphalophobia is the fear of belly buttons. Every few years, cropped tee shirts become the fashion, and that must be hard for the Omphalophobe, but just think what a trip to the beach would do to them.

Nomophobia could be something you will identify with. Its the fear of being without a mobile phone signal.

Triskadecaphobia describes the fear of the number 13. If I wanted to be nasty, I would list 13 phobias just to terrify a small percentage of my readership, but Ill be kind.

What Is Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is considered to be a specific phobia, which is discussed on the Phobia Types page. The word consists of 36 letters. It is a combination of elements that form a word which is likely to induce the fear it denotes. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is also known as Sesquipedalophobia.

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Influence Of Friends And Family Members

While many specific phobias can be inherited, sesquipedalophobia isnt something that runs in the blood. However, just like the fear of insects and fear of dogs, it is something that can be acquired via the company you keep. That is, family members, friends, and even colleagues, for that matter, can have an influence in developing the long word phobia in some people.

For example, if they have a genuine fear of long words and are constantly narrating their not-so-pleasant encounters with complex words, the effects can easily spill over in your life too.

This happens because of learned behavior a psychological effect that triggers the same reaction to a situation or thing as you have heard about it for so long.

A Strange List Of Phobias

ð¥ 25+ Best Memes About the Fear of Long Words

We define a phobia as an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. You are probably aware of the more common phobias, such as arachnophobia , claustrophobia , and agoraphobia , but did you know there are also words which describe the fear of idleness, worms, and even body odour? Explore the table below to discover the terms for some of the more interesting phobias you may come across.


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