Sesquipedalian non pareil
of 20th Century Political Journalism
1: having many syllables, long
2: given to or characterized by the use of long words
--Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition
3: A speaker or writer inclined to use sesquipedalian diction
[ses kwuh pu DAY lee un]
Sesquipedalian, an adjective, derives from the Latin sesquipedalis which "means a foot and a half long, and figuratively that is the length of a sesquipedalian word, which is one consisting of several syllables. A writer or a speaker has sesquipedalian style if he or she uses many long words".
--The Grand Panjandrum, J. N. Hook.
Bloggin' John Comments:
You don't have to look very far to find examples of sesquipedalian words. This very blog has disembouged . . . I mean . . . popped the cork and let flow discussions of such terms as rejectamenta, circumbendibus, and, of course sesquipedalian (its own apt example of its very meaning).
I don't recommend making a random habit of using in daily conversation such "big" words as circumbendibus or rejectamenta. Rather, use the word that best fits the occasion and your intention. You have to decide whether to be formal or informal, witty or serious, ironic or direct, and, accordingly, make your choices: dog poop or rejectament; clear or pellucid; demoted or plutoed. Then wait for your readers' responses.
March 9, 2008
A COMMENT FROM YOUR EDITOR:
During the 1960's, as a beginning teacher of High School English, I was possessed of a personal vocabulary that was no more than, shall I say, sufficient to the job. I began watching "Firing Line," Buckley's television program that featured him interviewing any prominent thinker or newsmaker of the day brave enough to engage in wit combat with the keen edged wordsman. With a pocket sized spiral bound notebook in my left hand and pencil in my right, I took notes on the program, not so much, I confess, for the ideas, but for the words — Buckley's words.
The New York Times marked the word smith's passing with apt diction in this headline,
William F.Buckley, Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died on Wednesday [March 5, 2008] at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 82.