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Fear of Long Words

Priya Johnson Apr 23, 2019
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia - the fear of long words is a phobia in which a person trembles and is overcome by irrational fear at the thought of pronouncing words of considerable length. To find out more about this phobia, read on...
Did you sing the song 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' in school? Oh well, we did and it was real fun singing the song that revolved around the 34 letter word. However, not all people love long words. Forget loving, there are people who get intimidated by long words.
This is not about likes and dislikes, but is one of the many phobias a person can be inflicted with and is referred to as - the fear of long words. This fear is called hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. Pronunciation of lengthy words causes anxiety and fear in people with this phobia. Let's have a better look at this kind of phobia.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia - Fear of Long Words

Fear of words is also called sesquipedalophobia, and it is a fear which causes people to unwarrantably be afraid of long words. Though we do not have exact estimates of how many people actually suffer from this phobia, it is believed that each year scores of people suffer from this condition.
This phobia is actually a bondage of the mind. The causes of the fear of long words can be instances in one's life wherein one attempted to learn a long word and pronounce it, but failed. This failed attempt can spearhead the phobia of long words.
The person suffering from this phobia knows in the back of his or her mind that the fear is illogical, however, the subconscious mind has tagged long words to negative emotions, which is why the person experiences negative symptoms every time he or she encounters a word of considerable length.


A person with the fear of long words shuns away from using and learning long words. Moreover, he also associates complicated and long words with negative emotions and begins to emote them with even the thought of uttering a complicated word. These symptoms are:
  • Sweating
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Clammy hands
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Overall feeling of dread
  • Palpitation
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Legs feel like rubber
  • Panic attacks
  • Extreme fear
  • Self condemnation
  • Extreme embarrassment
  • Tunnel vision
When the person comes across a long word, he or she panics and enters into a vicious thought cycle, which appears to be something like obsessive thinking disorder (not to that extent of course!). The person allows all unnecessary, overwhelming thoughts to plague the mind and ends up extremely anxious and fretful.

Overcoming the Fear

Fear of long words can have deleterious effects on some people. For example, such a fear tends to affect one's lifestyle and cause panic attacks. It affects one's family and social life. One tends to withdraw into the shell. However, the salvaging aspect in this case is that this phobia can be overcome.
Several therapies and programs are conducted to help overcome this phobia. These programs involve redirecting one's unconscious mind, wherein a certain methodology for reprogramming the subconscious mind. This therapy does not actually treat or cure the phobia. In fact, there is no treatment that can get rid of this condition.
Ultimately, it is only the sufferer who can help himself. The therapy only facilitates the sufferer break this bondage, by helping him or her overcome negative emotions like fear, guilt, anger, anxiety, etc. The idea is to break the vicious cycle of negative thinking.
The fear of long words is yet another strange phobia existing today, caused by an abnormal response to the feeling of danger. The person's irrational fear can conduce to social problems in one's life.
People living with this fear should not allow it to eat them up from within, but must seek help immediately. The truth will set you free! After overcoming the fear, you should be able to confidently pronounce the word hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia!