Fears and phobias are a perfectly natural part of being human. There is always that one thing that makes each individual person cringe, although it’s usually something rational like a fear of death or long-legged, hairy spiders ([intlink id=”736″ type=”post”]top 10 most common fears and phobias[/intlink]). Where things get a little odd is when people have fears that most of us would look at as irrational or just downright crazy ([intlink id=”758″ type=”post”]5 funny fears and phobias[/intlink]). It’s tough to even know where some of those stranger phobias would even originate, and for me, the one that stands out in that regard is hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. That would be the fear of long words and just the fact that the name of the phobia itself is one of the largest words I have ever seen is more than a touch ironic. How do you even tell the sufferer what they have without having them bolting of the psychiatrist couch and heading for the door?

The biggest question that I have about hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is what those folks consider to be a long word. Wouldn’t your education level play a part in your fear? I can’t imagine a college graduate getting a twinge of fear when seeing or hearing the word “umbrella,” but flash that to someone that never got past the 4th grade and you might have a completely different reaction. Having said that, how would someone even make it through college? There would have to be a lecture or two where a professor would hypothesize and set the hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia sufferer off on a panic attack.

There would even be certain jobs that would have to be strictly off limits for those who suffer from this totally weird little phobia. You couldn’t be a doctor or a lawyer, or have any job where those long Latin words often come into play, such as a zoologist or botanist. There are other career options for the hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia sufferer though, with kindergarten teacher or short order cook at the top of the list. A pre-K teacher actually makes sense when you think about it, as they would spend the better part of their day teaching kids how to spell “egg,” “cat,” and “dog.”


This is one phobia that really does make me think though, and I can’t help but wonder about exactly what it is that makes long words so scary to some. Sure none of us ever want to look as though we are stupid, but there are literally thousands of long words that the vast majority of us would understand or even be able to pronounce. Fears and phobias are often learned behavior that kids pick up from the adults around them or from other social factors, yet this one seems to stand on its own. The great news for hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia sufferers is that thanks to the internet and mobile devices, we all seem to have been reduced to talking in acronyms and shortened words, so they might want to try using shorter versions of the words they are most scared.

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Morgan is the founder and editor of REALITYPLEX. After suffering from a life-threatening accident, he realized that the way we perceive things around us is based on our beliefs, emotions and experiences. In an effort to draw the line between perception and reality, he launched REALITYPLEX in 2011. Get to know him better and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and G+