Fear Of Long Words (Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia ): Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

The fear of long words or Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is a neologism that would designate an unusual phobia, that of too long words. If left untreated, this phobia can be embarrassing in daily life. There are many people who suffer from this rare disorder that although it seems nonsense, it can cause a lot of discomfort.


Hippopotomonstrosestrosesquipedaliophobia is a psychological disorder, caused by the panic fear of words composed of many syllables such as “unconstitutionally.” More precisely, the hippopotamus has a special fear of misspelling or pronunciation of such words: he is, in effect, afraid of ridiculing himself in the eyes of others. Like other phobias , you are aware that your fear is irrational, but it is too intense to overcome without psychological support.

In general, a person with hypopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia uses avoidance techniques to avoid having to pronounce or write words that are too long. However, this method loses its effectiveness if the phobia worsens, especially if anticipation anxiety appears (the subject panics at the thought of having to say a very long word in the future).

Symptoms of fear of blood

  • Hippopotomonstrosestrosesquipedaliophobia manifests itself mainly by intense and uncontrollable anxiety, which can be accompanied by more or less pronounced physical symptoms depending on the situation.
  • For example, the subject may be very pale, tetanized, and have difficulty breathing.
  • You may also suffer from symptoms characteristic of an anxiety attack (chest pain, tremors, dizziness, palpitations) or pass out in some cases.

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  • In the case of hypopotomonstrosestrosesquipedaliophobia, a traumatic event in the subject’s past, usually during childhood (teasing after mispronunciation of a word, for example) can sometimes be the cause of the disorder.
  • But, like other phobias, its exact origin often remains mysterious.
  • Whatever its triggering factor, one can remember that the phobia is a kind of defense mechanism: to get rid of too intense an internal anguish, the subject projects it onto an external object.


  • Hippopotomonstrosestrosesquipedaliophobia may require psychotherapeutic treatment when it becomes too troublesome in daily life.
  • Several approaches are possible, such as psychoanalysis , to find the exact origin of the phobia, or cognitive and behavioral therapy (CBT), which allows you to gradually tame your fear by practicing the pronunciation of longer and longer words.
  • If necessary, therapy can be accompanied by medication (anxiolytics, antidepressants).
  • Therapeutic hypnosis can also help combat your anxiety.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.