[ ses-kwi-pi-dey-lee-uhn, -deyl-yuhn ]

adjectiveAlso ses·quip·e·dal [ses-kwip-i-dl]. /sɛsˈkwɪp ɪ dl/.
  1. given to using long words.

  2. (of a word) containing many syllables.

  1. a sesquipedalian word.

Origin of sesquipedalian

First recorded in 1650–60; from Latin sesquipedālis “measuring a foot and a half ”(see sesqui-, pedal) + -ian

Other words from sesquipedalian

  • ses·qui·pe·dal·i·ty [ses-kwi-pi-dal-i-tee], /ˌsɛs kwɪ pɪˈdæl ɪ ti/, ses·qui·pe·da·li·an·ism, ses·quip·e·dal·ism [ses-kwip-i-dl-iz-uhm, ‐kwi-peed-l-iz-uhm], /sɛsˈkwɪp ɪ dlˌɪz əm, ‐kwɪˈpid lˌɪz əm/, noun
  • un·ses·qui·pe·da·li·an, adjective

Words Nearby sesquipedalian Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sesquipedalian in a sentence

  • You know I am nothing if not "sesquipedalian" and scientific; and a word of five syllables will do for both qualities.

  • That colored orator and model letter-writer must look to his sesquipedalian fame.

  • The story of any incident, to be realistic, will admit neither of sesquipedalian grandeur nor of grotesque images.

    Thackeray | Anthony Trollope
  • I felt satisfied it was a friendly one; and was now more anxious than ever of overtaking its sesquipedalian owner.

    The Wild Huntress | Mayne Reid
  • The description of the scene, in somewhat sesquipedalian Latin, is quoted by Spitta, i. 801.

    Sebastian Bach | Reginald Lane Poole

British Dictionary definitions for sesquipedalian


less commonly sesquipedal (sɛsˈkwɪpədəl)

/ (ˌsɛskwɪpɪˈdeɪlɪən) /

  1. tending to use very long words

  2. (of words or expressions) long and ponderous; polysyllabic

  1. a polysyllabic word

Origin of sesquipedalian

C17: from Latin sēsquipedālis of a foot and a half (coined by Horace in Ars Poetica), from sesqui- + pedālis of the foot, from pēs foot

Derived forms of sesquipedalian

  • sesquipedalianism, noun

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