poly·​syl·​lab·​ic ˌpä-lē-sə-ˈla-bik How to pronounce polysyllabic (audio)
: having more than one and usually more than three syllables
: characterized by words of many syllables
polysyllabically adverb

Examples of polysyllabic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One distinctive feature of all Sino-Tibetan languages is that most words consist of a single syllable, like English it or book; long, polysyllabic words are unthinkable. Jared Diamond, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 The polysyllabic antiracist talk keeps proliferating. Rodney Stevens, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2023 Seated in front of a screen, I am instructed to pronounce a series of very obscure, polysyllabic words. Jeff Wheelwright, Discover Magazine, 3 Jan. 2019 Gilbert, for instance, enjoyed sending up the polysyllabic pomposity of the English oratory of his day. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 23 May 2022 Translated into clear and simple English, our polysyllabic poem turned out to be Row, row, row your boat ... Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Oct. 2021 Variants, mandates, quarantines and requirements -- who knew 2021 would be so polysyllabic? Maureen O'Hare, CNN, 21 Aug. 2021 Her cousin Berg takes pleasure in spouting polysyllabic, pedantic words that belie his hulking form. oregonlive, 11 Feb. 2020 In his pursuit to become prime minister, Mr. Johnson has adapted his old habits — the theatrics, the polysyllabic put-downs, the outlandish plans — for the Brexit era. Benjamin Mueller, New York Times, 22 July 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'polysyllabic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Medieval Latin polysyllabus, from Greek polysyllabos, from poly- + syllabē syllable

First Known Use

1774, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of polysyllabic was in 1774

Dictionary Entries Near polysyllabic

Cite this Entry

“Polysyllabic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polysyllabic. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


poly·​syl·​lab·​ic ˌpäl-i-sə-ˈlab-ik How to pronounce polysyllabic (audio)
: having many syllables
especially : having more than three syllables
polysyllabically adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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