What Is Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia? It’s One Of The Most Ironic Fears There Is

a hippopotamus bathing

By Luke Miller / Truth Theory

Fears and phobias no matter how irrational they seem are very real, and our minds can develop them towards just about anything. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is quite possibly the most ironic fear there is and while this may seem like a bit of a joke, it turns out Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is a fear of long words and this fear is very real for many people.

Have you heard the following words?

1. Jackasseries (The actions of a Jackass)

2. Polyphiloprogenitive (Extremely prolific; tending to produce offspring, or characterized by love of offspring)

3. Xenotransplantation (The transplantation of cells, tissue, or organs between two varied species)

How do you say and pronounce Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia? 

Sufferers of Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia usually experience elevated levels of anxiety when faced with long words. The word Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, (which almost is a bit of a dig at those who suffer from it) can be broken down into parts: Hippo is ‘horse’ in Greek and potam-os is river. Meaning the first part of the word refers to a water horse also known as a Hippopotamus.

The word: Hippopotamine refers to “something very large”. With the word “monstr” coming from Greek origin of a ‘monstrous being’ or something that is really big or scary and sesquippedalio comes from the Greek word “sesquippedali” meaning ‘measuring a foot and a half long’. Lastly phobos stand for a morbid fear.

Causes of Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, like most other phobias is caused by an event or events that are recorded as dangerous or deadly in parts of the brain called amygdala and hippocampus. Every Time you are confronted with a similar event in the future you react as if the same event is happening again.

Symptoms of Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

Everyone will have different symptoms of Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.

Some individuals will show elevated levels of anxiety and even have a panic attack when confronted with long words. Some symptoms include crying, shaking, trembling, headaches and an accelerated heartbeat.

Treating and overcoming the fear of long words phobia

Luckily like all other phobias, Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia can be overcome with the help of a good therapist. Usually, the individual will gradually be exposed to long words. Starting with looking at the words, then progressing to start thinking about the words and then eventually saying them. This kind of exposure helps contain panic until there is complete comfort with the long words.

Image Credit: Ewin Ean


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