Trend Watch

Stephen Curry Plays 'Sesquipedalian'

'Given to or characterized by the use of long words'

Sesquipedalian (“given to or characterized by the use of long words”) was among our top lookups on April 21st, 2017, after the word was prominently featured in a video with NBA star Stephen Curry.

Watch NBA sharp-shooting superstar Steph Curry surprise a group of high schoolers by challenging them to a game of S-E-S-Q-U-I-P-E-D-A-L-I-A-N (we’re only 90% sure that’s how you spell it).
GQ (, 17 Apr. 2017

The video features an uncommon version of the game H-O-R-S-E (“a game in which players take turns attempting to duplicate successful basketball shots, a letter of the word "horse" is awarded for each missed attempt, and the first player to receive all five letters loses”), with the substitution of a considerably longer word.

In addition to the definition provided above, sesquipedalian may mean “having many syllables.” The word began being used in English in the early 17th century, and comes from the Latin sesquipedalis (“a foot and a half long”). The initial portion of the word comes from the Latin prefix sesqui-, which has been used to mean “one and a half” in many other English words, such as sesquihoral (“an hour and a half long”), sesquialteral (“one and a half times as great as another”), and sesquicentennial (“a 150th anniversary or its celebration”).

The noun form of the word is sesquipedalianism or sesquipedality.

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