Fear of Long Words

What is the Fear of Long Words? are you afraid of the big words? learn about the Fear of Long Words

Attention If you are suffering from anxiety over long sentences, the following article will trigger your fears that you might want to stay clear of.

Is there a proper word to describe the fear of long words?

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia  is what is the word for fear of long words. Another term used to describe the fear of long words is sesquipedalophobia. Sesquipedalophobia is a word whose etymological roots stem from Latin sesquipedalis, which means one-half of a foot and phobia, which is the fear of.

According to Wikipedia, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis  is the most significant word from the English language found in the Oxford English Dictionary. It is a lung disease caused by inhaling fine dust or sand particles. Most people use the more common term of silicosis to refer to this disease.

According to the Huffington Post, the world’s most significant word is the scientific name for “Tintin”, a large protein. Dmitry Golubovskiy made a video of him saying the name. It took him 213 minutes to pronounce the word with 189,819 letters.

As with all phobias, a fear of long words is an irrational fear. Unfortunately, this does not make it any easier to live with than any other irrational fear, such as fear of heights, open spaces, fear of spiders etc.

The Mayo Clinic describes a phobia as the fear that is not reasonable yet overwhelms the sufferer, causing them to become anxious and seek to avoid the stimulus causing the fear. Unfortunately, there seems to be a phobia for almost everything. A huge phobia list has hundreds of entries in alphabetical order.

The fear of really long words is no more strange than arachibutyrophobia, which is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. Having nearly choked to death on a peanut butter sandwich as a young child is the cause for that one.

The word for fear of long words relates to the fear of books bibliophobia. People who have this fear of long words phobia probably suffer some childhood trauma related to long terms. It could be they had a bad experience in a spelling bee contest or were embarrassed in front of the class when asked to read a word they did not understand or could not pronounce. A traumatic event such as this is enough to start the development of a phobia.

Some phobias are long-lasting and cause many problems , which interfere with a good quality of life. However, many with phobias can manage by making sure they avoid anything that triggers the fear. Therefore, a person with a fear of long word pronunciation or spelling would not even read what the word for fear of long words is. Instead, they should describe their conditions using the more minor, more straightforward terms and call it the fear of long words.

To other people, this fear of long words may seem silly. In the movie Mary Poppins, she sings about a ridiculously long term, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” The two Sherman brothers who wrote the lyrics for the song made up this nonsense word. The film was supposed to be a word to say when a person cannot think of anything to say. In 1986, it found its way into the Oxford English Dictionary.

Social Phobias

The fear of long words is in the class of social phobias, which comes about because of the fear of judgment by others or being humiliated in social settings. Similar phobias include fear of public speaking, excessive shyness, or self-consciousness. The Mayo Clinic says that social phobias typically show up in childhood before the child is a teenager. In addition, if a family member has a phobia, the children are more likely to develop the same phobia.

Common Reactions to Phobias

The most common reaction is a panic or anxiety attack when the fear response is stimulated. The panic causes a physical response, which includes such things as racing heartbeats, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, and a psychological reaction of feeling powerless, while at the same time wanting to do anything possible to reduce the fear.

Things called “triggers” stimulate the fear reaction. Sometimes,  simply thinking about what causes the fear is enough to trigger a response.

People who have phobias that are strong enough to affect their lives adversely may suffer isolation from other people. They may also feel depressed, abuse substances (due to the overwhelming anxiety), and in extreme cases,  commit suicide .

It does not help that others think a phobia is silly. Even when the person who has the phobia realizes it is not reasonable, this does not make the fear go away by itself.

Having a phobia does not mean a person is crazy. Phobias are treatable.

Fear versus Phobias

According to the Help Guide, there is a difference between having normal fear and having a phobia. The example they give is the difference between confronting a vicious attack dog and seeing a calm tiny dog on a leash in the park.

It is natural to feel fear or nervousness when seeing an attack dog, but it is a phobia when the fear of all dogs keeps a person from going to the park.

The key to understanding the difference is to test the negative impact of a phobia on a person’s life. For example, if a person forges a great job because they must ride up in a building elevator, this is another example of a phobia, where the person should seek treatment to get help.

With the fear of long words, a person with this phobia might never read a book or a newspaper or avoid going outside, fearing seeing terms used in advertisements. As a result, they might not be able to attend college or get a good job. What seems silly to others may be utterly devastating to them and ruin their lives.

Treatment for Phobias

Both seeking professional help in counselling from a mental health professional combined with self-health methods is appropriate. Self-help is worth the effort because part of the successful treatment of phobias is convincing the person they have more control over the situation than they first feel when they panic. De-sensitivity reprogramming is very successful, and many people respond to the treatment very quickly.

An example of this would be for a person with an intense fear of dogs to hold a soft cuddly puppy to gradually get used to the idea that not all dogs are harmful. For fear of long words, it could be reading, saying, or spelling words of increasing length.

Neuro-linguistic Programming

Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is effectively used to remove phobias, sometimes in a single session. NLP techniques focus on creating change. The critical element is dissociation. Successful NLP helps the person completely disconnect from the emotional responses.

The foundation thought of NLP is a person’s beliefs, and assumptions create a mental map of the world, but this is only a mental image and not reality itself. Holding false beliefs establishes a pattern of stress reactions to certain stimuli, which repeat so many times that they feel unchangeable. Nevertheless, precisely the opposite is true.

Once a person understands how they create feelings and inner thoughts, they can change them to other ones, which are more valuable.

A skilled NLP practitioner guides a person by distracting the conscious mind to make contact with the unconscious mind and can remap to the mental image of the world to remove less valuable distortions.

The procedure works by helping the person attain a calm state and use their imagination in a guided way to go back in time to right before the phobia first began. For example, a common technique is for the person to imagine watching a movie of the event.

NLP-mentor describes a basic phobia treatment procedure using this modality in detail. These NLP procedures have an excellent success record and effectively reduce and eliminate phobias of all kinds.

The therapist brings up the phobia on purpose to trigger a slight response. Then the NLP technique replaces the distortion. After a successful session, the person practices with the therapist by running the imaginary movie forwards and backwards.

This continues until there is no longer any emotional response to the phobia trigger at all. This is the “rewind” technique developed by Richard Bandler, who is a co-founder of NLP.

According to the Human Givens Institute, the reason this works is that the person who suffered trauma causing the phobia can reprogram their memory of the event to a more ordinary memory, perhaps an uncomfortable one, but not one that puts them in a panic state any longer.


With advanced reprogramming techniques such as NLP, there is no need for anyone to suffer from a fear of long words. Instead, consult with a qualified NLP practitioner if you have a phobia or know someone suffering from this to see if NLP can help.

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