Word Wednesday: Sesquipedalian

Posted by



adjective | ses·qui·pe·da·lian \ˌses-kwə-pə-ˈdāl-yən\


  1. Having many syllables
  2. given to, or characterized by the use of long words


mid 17th century: from Latin.

Horace, the Roman poet known for his satire, was merely being gently ironic when he cautioned young poets against using “sesquipedalia verba”-“words a foot and a half long”-in his book Ars poetica, a collection of maxims about writing. But in the 17th century, English literary critics decided the word sesquipedalian could be very useful for lambasting writers using unnecessarily long words.

Your Latin Lesson:

Latin sesquipedalis, literally, a foot and a half long

from sesqui- “half as much again”
+ ped-, pes “foot”

Did You Know?

Words that Rhyme with Sesquipedalian: Episcopalian, tatterdemalion, Australian, bacchanalian.

A sesquiquadrate is an 135-degree angle.

A sesquicentennial is a period of 150 years.

A sesquinona in music, is an interval having the ratio or 9:10—that is, a lesser major second.


Sesquipedalian cartoons © Mickey Bach Word-A-Day


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s