Vocabulophobia or the Fear of Long Words

If you’ve been around here for a while, you probably know of my literature-oriented past. For about four years, I’ve eaten, slept, dreamt, spoken of nothing else but Literature. With a capital L even. Most of my friends were also lit students and a discussion on existential angst in Beckett’s works used to be casual canteen conversation for me. For all of us.

Possibly as a result of that, I say ‘annoyed’ instead or ‘mad’, ‘furious’ instead of ‘pissed’. I actually use the words ‘vacuous’, ‘morbid’ and ‘clandestine’ in everyday speech.

And I wasn’t really aware that I did it, till a few days back when I happened to describe an ex-colleague as ‘tempestuous’. I meant to say aggressive, but somehow ‘tempestuous’ was just the bloody word that popped into my mind first. And that did it. Smiley, who has the nasty habit of being in the wrong place at the right time, has now spread word to Pepper, Meanjari and sundry others that I’m a walking-talking dictionary/ encyclopedia with a shameful fondness for long words. And sweet Jesus, I’m having to hear smirky usage of ‘tempestuous’ some fifteen times a day.

My ass is being taken, left, right and centre – in office, in social situations and the day will come when this madness will spread to the internet too.

I feel like a sociopath.

9 thoughts on “Vocabulophobia or the Fear of Long Words

  1. Aah, if that is the case, I dread meeting you in person. Rather, you should dread it too. Why? Coz I’m not too ashamed of not knowing words. The moment I hear something I don’t understand, I immediately belt out a – “What does that mean? Language of origin? How do I pronounce it? What word type is it? Use it in another sentence please.”So yeah, our conversation with very much be monosyllabic. Something like this – Tanmay: Do you like big words?Veda: Yes.


  2. Rohit – I’m not ‘annoyed’ , just abashed.h3lios – yeah, yeah, smirk away.Tanmay – Don’t dread meeting me, for it will be very educational for you. And since I use a LOT of long words, monosyllabic is the last thing our conversation will be.Darius – Why do you know what a sociopath would draw? Should I be scared?


  3. Ha ha, I’ve no knowledge about literature. I read stuff like The Magic Far Away Tree among others (which means I read stuff where there’s an upper cap on the number of syllables you can use!)But I have trained extensively on language so I’ll completely get it when you say ‘clandestine’ or ‘tempestuous.’


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