Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia Fear of Long word – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

A bizarre phobia that exists in people is Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. As long as the word is, the phobia is also associated with the fear of long words. Mankind can be afraid of almost anything, and this is one such phobia.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is signified by unreasonable fear and anxiety whenever confronted with long, gigantic words. The word has been derived from several words such as “hippopotamine” meaning something extensively large, Greek word “monstr” meaning something horrifying and “sesquippedali” meaning a measurement of a foot and a half long length.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, fear of long words

What Causes Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia?

It’s not very clear how this strange phobia is caused. However, one of the major reason can be:

Associated event

Any event related with syllables and alphabets, or while learning words which have caused distress in the person previously might erupt this weird kind of fear for long words in people. For instance, if a person had difficulty learning words at an early age may feel anxious whenever confronted with long, gigantic words.


Studies have shown that people are more likely to be affected with this kind of phobia if they had a previous family history with phobia and other kinds of depression.

The Symptoms Of Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

Major symptoms that occur with Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia are:

  • Irrational and profound anxiety of facing long, huge words
  • Avoiding reading due to fear of long words
  • Recognizing that the fear is unreasonable ( except in children)
  • Distressed regarding academics and works related with long words
  • Physical panicking signs such as trembling, sweating, dizziness and fainting, dry mouth, headache, being unable to read and trouble in breathing

How to deal with Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia?

This fear of long words has been considered fictional by many people. But , this phobia does exist in real. The question that strikes is how someone with this weird phobia deal with everyday work and academics. Some tips that might help with are:

Get away from “Spellings”

If you’re one such phobic with long words, you probably wouldn’t be wanting to face any circumstances where you actually have to read and spell such words. Try staying away from reading or memorizing such huge words. If you anticipate any long word is going to be used, just try replacing them with synonymous shorter words. If you’ve got friends with long names, replace them with initials or shorter nicknames. The main tip is to replace such long words with alternative words you can use anytime.

Break down Syllables

If at anytime during your work or study, you need to read or write a long word, try breaking them down into their separate syllables. All kinds of words are made from pieces of syllables. These pieces would be smaller and not so problematic. Moreover, your tension with long words is also broken down. For an example, if you need to read or write “hippopotamus”, simply break down into “hippo” and “potamus”. Regular practice of breaking down syllables can help you resist longer words.

Relax Yourself

No matter what the fear is about, all you need is to calm and relax yourself during such moment. Remember you’re your own doctor. If at anytime of the day, you find yourself panicking due to a word, close your eyes and take deep breaths. Visualize yourself in a better place than the moment you’re in, and open up your mind. If you can get your brain distracted over something else, your fear would come under control.