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Jan 11, 2018
This week’s theme
Long words with short definitions

This week’s words
senectitude
weltanschauung
infundibuliform
floccinaucinihilipilification
pneumonoultramicrosco- picsilicovolcanoconiosis

floccinaucinihilipilification
During hyperinflation in Germany in 1923, it was cheaper to use currency notes as wallpaper
Photo: German Fed. Archives/Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

floccinaucinihilipilification

PRONUNCIATION:
(FLOK-si-NO-si-NY-HIL-i-PIL-i-fi-KAY-shuhn)

MEANING:
noun: Estimating as worthless.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin flocci, from floccus (tuft of wool) + nauci, from naucum (a trifling thing) + nihili, from Latin nihil (nothing) + pili, from pilus (a hair, trifle) + -fication (making). Earliest documented use: 1741.

NOTES:
This word was coined by combining four Latin terms flocci, nauci, nihili, pili, all meaning something of little or no value, which were listed in the well-known Eton Latin Grammar of Eton College in the UK. The word seems to be popular in the US government. It has been heard from the mouths of White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry, Senator Robert Byrd, and Senator Jesse Helms, among others. A related word is floccipend.

USAGE:
“I have been gathering relevant state public investment data since 2000 and in that time have provided a consistent approach to calculating Our Fair Share. I hope I avoid the floccinaucinihilipilification.”
Colin Dwyer; Region Has Missed Out on Due Wealth; Townsville Bulletin (Australia); Jun 10, 2014.

“She tells me that Floccinaucinihilipilification is the name she wants our first child to have. I say the name is terribly long.”
Craig Stone; The Squirrel that Dreamt of Madness; Troubador; 2016.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves ... But the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean's bottom. -William James, psychologist and philosopher (11 Jan 1842-1910)

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