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Jan 8, 2018
This week’s theme
Long words with short definitions

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

senectitude
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Recently, when I featured the word exeleutherostomize (meaning “to speak out freely”) several readers noted that the word itself is longer than its definition. Another example is the word abbreviation, which is described as a long word to describe a short word.

What other words are like this, words that take more letters to spell than to define? I was intrigued. What other words are like this -- words that take more letters to spell than to define? This week’s words are the result of that investigation.

What word have you found that has a spelling longer than its definition? Share it on our website or email us at words@wordsmith.org.

senectitude

PRONUNCIATION:
(si-NEK-ti-tood, -tyood)

MEANING:
noun: Old age.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin senectus (old age), from senex (old). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sen- (old), which is also the ancestor of senior, sir, sire, senate, senile, Spanish señor, and surly (which is an alteration of sirly, as in sir-ly). Earliest documented use: 1796.

USAGE:
“While the life span of man undoubtedly had been prolonged, the problem of senectitude had by no means been conquered, and that aged men in positions of public trust could constitute a definite hazard.”
Edwin O’Connor; The Last Hurrah; Little, Brown; 1956.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct of its business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it. -Lewis H. Lapham, editor and writer (b. 8 Jan 1935)

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