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[pol-ee-si-lab-ik] /ˌpɒl i sɪˈlæb ɪk/
consisting of several, especially four or more, syllables, as a word.
characterized by such words, as a language, piece of writing, etc.
Sometimes, polysyllabical.
Origin of polysyllabic
1650-60; < Medieval Latin polysyllab(us) of many syllables (< Greek polysýllabos) + -ic. See poly-, syllabic
Related forms
polysyllabically, adverb
hyperpolysyllabic, adjective
hyperpolysyllabically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for polysyllabic
Historical Examples
  • "You haven't told me about the polysyllabic young man," she reminded.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • Hence the polysyllabic, and the descriptive character of the language, so composite in its aspect and in its forms.

  • Swinburne's polysyllabic rage showed the force of the current he was trying to stem.

    Whitman John Burroughs
  • The languages differ—the Turanian, like the Oceanic and the American, being inflected and polysyllabic.

    Man and His Migrations

    R. G. (Robert Gordon) Latham
  • And by the way, I met that polysyllabic cowboy again—and I discovered that, on the whole, my estimate was incorrect.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • The commonest variation of the type occurs in the first thesis, which may be polysyllabic.

  • Owing to these licences, and to the introduction of polysyllabic theses, the rhythm of the verse sometimes becomes very heavy.

  • With regard to trisyllabic and polysyllabic words the remarks on pp. 176–7 are to be compared.

  • He alluded to tyrannical obstinacy—unimaginative autocracy—intolerable domination—and other polysyllabic enormities.

  • He departed from my view, a perplexing and polysyllabic problem, claiming for himself a useless and preposterous purity.

British Dictionary definitions for polysyllabic


consisting of more than two syllables
Derived Forms
polysyllabically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for polysyllabic

1650s (implied in polysyllabical), from Medieval Latin polysyllabicus, from Greek polysyllabikos; see poly- + syllabic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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