usingtherightwords

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And Now, A Really Long Word


My wife handed me a piece of paper yesterday, from some sort of page-a-day® calendar dated Jan. 7, 2015. It’s a calendar from Workman Publishing that offers a word a day. On this particular day, the word was sesquipedalian, meaning “having many syllables: long” and “using long words.”

This calendar also has a explanation behind the word. To paraphrase, the word traces back to Roman times, when the Roman poet Horace warned his students against using sesquipedalian verba — that is, “words and foot and a half long.”

The explanation then jumped to 17th century England and literary critics using the word to scold people who used unnecessarily long words.

Finally, it explains that the Latin prefix sesqui- is used today to mean “one and a half time,” which is why a 150th anniversary is called a sesquicentennial.

There you have it. I hope my wife didn’t show me this word because or my tendency to use sesquipedalian words.

Until next time! Use the right words!
leebarnathan.com

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January 27, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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