Thursday, June 08, 2006


Floccinaucinihilipilification (FLOK-si-NO-si-NY-HIL-i-PIL-i-fi-KAY-shuhn) noun

Meaning - Estimating something as worthless.

[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).]

- My current favourite word!

Ever since my uncle introduced me to A Word A Day from Wordsmith , I have been hooked. A Word A Day(AWAD) usually lands in my box at lunchtime, and it is one of the brighter moments of each work day!

AWAD was started by Anu Garg. Each week, he presents five different words with a common theme. Along with the pronunciation and the meaning of each word, he also describes the root and the origin of the word. There is usually a short witty note on the word too. He also gives an example of the usage of the word in the media. And as a bonus, he puts in a very interesting quote (not related to the Word of the Day). [Sometimes I suspect that I wait for the quote more than I wait for the word!] At the end of each week, Anu sends across a mail, a collection of titbits and inputs from readers all over the world, on the words of the previous week.

Each email usually brightens up a dull day, and livens up a lifeless post-lunch Shruthi.

In fact, the credit for the name "Nychthemeron" goes to AWAD. The day I decided to start blogging seriously, I decided to change my url, and was trying all sorts of words. Nothing was available, and I was getting increasingly frustrated. Then I received that day’s word, and found that the word was Nychthemeron . I loved the meaning and the way the word slid off my tongue. I tried it – and it was available. And the rest is, of course, a branch of Social Science.

If you like words, and have not subscribed to A Word A Day yet, then go ahead and do it NOW. By the way, not all words are long and unpronounceable like today’s word is. This week’s theme is “long words”. So don’t worry!

AWAD is interesting and informative, and yes, you cheapskate - it is free.


RK said...

hi shruthi,

this word reminded me of my school days. remember we used to get free sort-of-comics with a pack of MAGGI in the '80s. i had read in that book this was the longest english word: Floccinaucinihilipilification
(later got to know this was not the longest word in english)

Viky said...

Me too.

I thought this was the longest word in english. But now, RK says it not.

Googled a bit and found that "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" is the longest word, and its plural "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses" is as long too. Later researchers found that it was a hoax. Wonder who pays them for that sort of research.

Anyway, Guinness still holds Flocci..sheesh...tion as the longest word officially. The next is Antidisestablishmentarianism. Whew!!!

And yes, I subscribe to word of the day too, from Doctor Dictionary.

And no, I shall let that comment remain a comment. This last time funda never works with me, I always cross the line. I'm determined to make it work this time. Of course, I will link it when I write about Mysore.

Maverick said...

finally knew the meaning of ur blog's URL , thx.I love quotes too, i subscribed frm this site and each day a new quote appears on my website, u can do the same for ur blog too.u can choose by the author, by the topic or by the type.believe me i open my own site everyday to see what quote is in it tht dayand also my friends do.

Shruthi said...

Rk: Oh yeah I remember those free comics :)

Viky: Yeah you are right - today's word is
pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, noun (NOO-muh-noh-UL-truh-MY-kruh-SKOP-ik-SIL-i-koh-VOL-kay-no-koh-NEE-o-sis, nyoo-)

A lung disease caused by inhaling fine particles of silica.

[From New Latin, from Greek pneumono- (lung) + Latin ultra- (beyond,
extremely) + Greek micro- (small) + -scopic (looking) + Latin silico (like sand) + volcano + Greek konis (dust) + -osis (condition).]

Even though we have included the pronunciation of this word, we advise caution lest you may have to avail the services of an otorhinolaryngologist (a throat, nose, and ear specialist).

At 45 letters, it's the longest word in any English language dictionary.
It's a trophy word -- its only job is to serve as the longest word. In day-to-day use, its nine-letter synonyms "silicosis" or "black lung" work just as well, and the latter is more descriptive.

But your comment on Mysore is truly beautiful.

Priyatham: That's very interesting! Thanks - will check it out.

Viky said...

Aw, *flourishes hands*, beautiful things get beautiful comments. :D

raj plus said...

I thought the longest word in English was 'smiles', where there's a mile between the first and last letter ?

But, seriously, thanks for the link

travel plaza said...

Very interesting Shruti. I think I will subscribe to AWAD. Also I will check out the site mentioned by Priyatam:))

PRIDERA said...

THe longest word is apparently not pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. That is supposed to be a haox if wikipedia is supposed to be believed :(

Supremus said...

Now whatever "Meaning - Estimating something as worthless." -- word was, that was kept me away hehehehe :D

I am too old for spelling bee hehe - though I will give this one a try; I tried such sites many a times, eventually they all ended up being junk mail, but lemme give this one a try!


Shruthi said...

Viky: Awwww, *flourishes hands*, some ppl are just too modest! :D

Raj Plus: Smiles, yes :). I am sure you will enjoy the link. Especially as you love to play with words :)

Travel Plaza: Yeah! I'm sure you'll like it!

Pridera: Like in my comment above, where I have put the meaning and explanation for that "longest" word, that word exists just as a token word - for the purpose of being the longest word. That's all :)

Suyog: Heh heh :))
Actually I had subscribed to a number of such thingies too, including some more word-a-day programs, but they all ended up being, as you say, junk.
This was the only one I retained, coz I really enjoy it.

Manasi said...

Speechless! (Looks like I will have to go in for a word a day to take me out of it)

Vinod R Iyer said...

Thank you :) .. Will get my word everyday too !!

Swathi said...

i remember mugging this word 'floucino...' during my 6th Std. inter-quiz competition.

n yeah i have subscribed to the Word a Day stuff, sounds like great fun.

Anu said...

Shruthi, You have been tagged:))
Details in my blog. Do check, please

Shruthi said...

Manasi: Heh heh.. yup you do! :)

Vinod: My pleasure!

Swathi: It IS fun! :)

Anu: Done!

sridhar said...

I came across your entry on English words. Your blogs are quite interesting. You might be interested in checking this out. The author of this site gives a nice writeup about the origin of the words we use today.

keep up the good work:)


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