Today is the birthday in 65 BC of Roman lyrical poet and satirist Horace. On this day we express our gratitude to Horace for a single word — sesquipedalian, which means “a long word” or“a person known for using long words.”
Horace penned his verse in Latin. In his Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry), he wrote the following:
George Orwell gave good advice to writers in his famous essay “Politics and the English Language” when he said, “Never use a long word when a short one will do.” However, sometimes a long word is the best word, especially when it has
Original: The politician was guilty of being evasive, using many words when fewer were called for.
Revision: The politician was guilty of circumlocution.
Today’s Challenge: World of Wide and Weighty Words
What are some examples of words that are at least 10 letters long, words that pack a lot meaning into a single word? Using a good dictionary, identify atleast 8 words that are each at least 10 letters long. Record your list ofwords along with a definition of each one. Also record the number ofwords in the definition. Then, write your verdict of whether or not eachword is a dense word. To judge each word, ask and answer the followingquestions: Does the word crowd enough meaning into a small enoughspace to be declared dense? Is it truly a heavyweight word?
Below are some examples of dense words:
Anthropomorphic, Bacchanalian, Circumlocution, Doctrinaire, Extemporaneous, Hemidemisemiquaver, Infrastructure, Jurisprudence(Common Core Writing 2 – Expository)
1-World Wide Words. Sesquipedalian. http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-ses1.htm.
2-Provost, Gary. 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing. New York: New American Library, 1985.