Friday, September 15, 2006

Words that embody their meaning: sesquipedalian, esoteric

I had to look up "sesquipedalion" while reading a case today. The judge could have used "wordy" instead, but I can understood how it would have been hard to resist going obscure on this one.

sesquipedalian (ses·qui·pe·da·lian)


  • A long word.
  • Given to the use of long words.
  • Long and ponderous; polysyllabic.

This reminded me of a joke that Barry Crimmins told at the Ding Ho Comedy Club back in 1980. "Funny thing about the word 'esoteric', not many people know what it means." Sue Strausman and I laughed. He pointed at us and said, "figures the ones who go to MIT are the only ones who get it."

esoteric (es·o·ter·ic)



  • Intended for or understood by only a particular group: an esoteric cult.
  • Of or relating to that which is known by a restricted number of people.


  • Confined to a small group: esoteric interests.
  • Not publicly disclosed; confidential.

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