Floccinaucinihilipilification: The Longest Word in the Dictionary | Word of the Week #4

Floccinaucinihilipilification: The Longest Word in the Dictionary | Word of the Week #4

Hey there! Welcome to The Selcouth Mind! What’s the longest word you can think of? Maybe it’s “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”
from Mary Poppins. Or possibly “hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia”,
which is the term for a fear of big words. If you have that, you should probably stop
watching now. While both of those words are long with 34
and 36 letters respectively, neither is commonly found in dictionaries. The longest non-technical word in the dictionary
is “floccinaucinihilipilification”, which means “the action or habit of estimating
something as worthless”. It has 29 letters. Side note: if you thought “antidisestablishmentarianism”
was the longest word in the dictionary, you were almost correct. It is found in most dictionaries, but it only
has 28 letters, making “floccinaucinihilipilification” the longest word by one letter. Back to “floccinaucinihilipilification”. Let’s break it down a bit. It comes from several, smaller Latin words,
“flocci”, “nauci”, “nihili”, and “pilifi”, all of which mean “for nothing”. These four words were found in a rule in the
Eton Latin Grammar. The Eton Latin Grammar was the standard Latin
textbook of the 18th and 19th centuries. The four words were combined with the Latin
suffix “fication” to form “floccinaucinihilipilification”. It was first used in a letter by the English
poet William Shenstone in 1741 in reference to the personality of a fellow poet: “For
whatever the world might esteem in poor Somervile, I really find, upon critical enquiry, that
I loved him for nothing so much as his flocci-nauci-nihili-pili-fication of money.” The word became more popular in the 1960s
among young, educated British men as a joke. It is almost never used today, except as an
example of a long word. I think we should wrap this video up now before
it becomes as long as “floccinaucinihilipilification”. Leave a like if you want to see bloopers of
me failing to say “floccinaucinihilipilification” correctly! What’s your favorite long word? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for watching! If you enjoyed this video, please consider
subscribing. I’ll you again soon. Until then, stay curious!

Daniel Ostrander

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