Friday, 12 August 2011


So we come to the Friday of our week of sesquipedalianism. We've had Hottentottenpotentatentantenattentat, floccinaucinihilipilification, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and osseocarnisanguineoviscericartilaginonervomedullary.

But as you have probably noticed, the thing about long words is that you can just keep making them up for a laugh. In one short chapter of Urquhart's translation of Rabelais you can find the words disincornifistibulated, esperruquanchuzelubelouzerireliced, morrambouzevezengouzequoquemorgasacbaquevezinemaffreliding, morcrocastebezasteverestegrigeligoscopapopondrillated and morderegripippiatabirofreluchamburelurecaquelurintimpaniments. None of these words means anything much at all, except in context.

My favourite from that chapter (which you can read the whole of here) is this little beauty:

The bride crying laughed, and laughing cried, because the catchpole was not satisfied with drubbing her without choice or distinction of members, but had also rudely roused and toused her, pulled off her topping, and not having the fear of her husband before his eyes, treacherously trepignemanpenillorifrizonoufresterfumbled tumbled and squeezed her lower parts. [...] But, said his lady, why hath he been so very liberal of his manual kindness to me, without the least provocation?

Have a good weekend, dear reader, may it be filled with joy, trepignemanpenillorifrizonoufresterfumbling and manual kindness.


  1. Did she really say 'a blative plural'? Shame.

  2. I noticed that. Checked the OED and they do have it down as a variant US pronunciation.

  3. An American classicist, I've never heard any of my compeers pronounce it thus, and she didn't sound too American to me.