Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness

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In other words, the effects of fruit flies on the browning of apples.

Sesquipedalian: A long word, or characterized by the use of long words. From the Latin roots meaning "a foot and a half long."

Loquaciousness: That would be garrulousness, verboseness, effusiveness. How about "chattiness"?

A predilection by the intelligentsia to engage in the manifestation of prolix exposition through a buzzword disposition form of communication notwithstanding the availability of more comprehensible, punctiliously applicable, diminutive alternatives. Also known as "gross verbosity".

In brief: "smart" characters using long words when short ones would be better. Characters afflicted with this trait often seem to go out of their way to over-complicate their speech, probably because writers think that this is the only way to show that someone is more intelligent than the average writer. This could also be the trait of a particularly anal-retentive character who always has to be right, the trait extending so far that the character always has to use exactly the right word—never using "blue" when "azure" would be more accurate, for example.

Occasionally such characters may drop the long words if things get particularly dire, to emphasize just how bad things are (in the same way as a Sarcasm Failure). Alternatively, they may get even more wordy as they get more emotional, leading to increasingly detailed but ultimately incoherent ranting that falls too easily into Wangst. Frequently another character will respond with something like "Wouldn't it be easier to just [whatever the brainy person said, in layman's terms]?" or "And [layman's terms version], too!"

Ironically, Williams Syndrome can lead to this kind of behavior. People with Asperger's Syndrome may do this in an attempt to be as precise as possible, ironically making their oratorical sonorities too pleonastic to be expeditiously assimilated.

One of the symptoms of Spock Speak. Usually also a Motor Mouth. Often takes advantage of the fact that Talking Is a Free Action. See also Techno Babble, Expospeak Gag, Antiquated Linguistics, Sophisticated As Hell, and Department of Redundancy Department. Often a component of Little Professor Dialog. If someone tries for this and can't get the words right, they're perpetrating Delusions of Eloquence. If the author commits this, see Purple Prose. The word Antidisestablishmentarianism is almost guaranteed to show up as well.

Very heavily associated with the Steampunk genre in particular, and Truth in Television in that case, as the Victorians did speak a form of English that was more complex and verbose, and less dumbed down than current usage.

It's worth noting that there is a word for the fear of long words; ironically, it's "sesquipedalophobia" often exaggerated by people into "hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia".

The polar opposite of Buffy-Speak. Big Words redirects here, for those of us who prefer to avert this trope in Real Life. Contrast the Laconic. Also note that the similarity to Techno Babble. May require one to have a Translator Buddy.

Examples of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness include:


Animated & drawn media originating in, or imitating the style of, the Eastern nation of Nippon-Koku, known in English as Japan (Anime And Manga)[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Episode 22 of Azumanga Daioh does this is the English Dub. In the Japanese version, it's just Gratuitous English.
  • Leeron in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann frequently does this after the Time Skip, with "short versions" inevitably following after he loses his audience.

Leeron: Genetic diversity via sexual reproduction is the key to evolution.
(confused Reaction Shot from the Dai-Gurren Brigade)
Leeron: (makes a heart shape with his fingers) Love makes the world go 'round! <3
"Oh!" "Of course!"

    • Lordgenome's Head is pretty bad at this too.
  • Genshiken uses this for its Idiosyncratic Episode Naming.
    • This is done as if the episodes were a college thesis paper; it's done for the whole first season—hinted to by done by the President (who might or might not have cameras hidden everywhere) -- while more normal episode naming is done during season two.
  • Yue of Mahou Sensei Negima tends to do this on occasion.
  • Ulquiorra in the Viz Media translation of Bleach flaunts his vocabulary in almost every conversation.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion pretty much anyone in the technical division at NERV does this, Dr. Akagi being the worst offender. "General Purpose Humanoid Decisive Weapon Evangelion" indeed...
  • Digimon Adventure's Izzy tends to fall into this sometimes when he plays Mr. Exposition, further solidifying his place as The Smart Guy.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya's Kyon often falls into this during his narration.
    • Yuki will often provide one or two syllable answers to rather important questions, be prompted (usually by Kyon) into giving longer answers, and the longer answers end up in this incomparable form.
  • Matsuki from Kunisaki Izumo no Jijou is prone to this with regards to school work.


Occidental sequential graphic novels (Comic Books)[edit | hide]

  • Shlubb and Klump (a.k.a. Fat Man and Little Boy) from Sin City indulge in this type of dialogue in an attempt to look intelligent. However, they tend to mix a fair amount of a malapropism in with it as well. The result is called Delusions of Eloquence.
  • In The DCU, this is a trademark of "Big Words", a member of the Newsboy Legion.
    • And his Marvel counterpart, Jefferson Worthington Sandervilt of the Young Allies.
  • Brainiac Five, from Legion of Super-Heroes is another excellent example. Some of the incarnations of him are actually consistently annoyed that he has to "dumb it down" for his fellow Legionnaires.
  • As the example on the Quotes page demonstrates, Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four tends to talk this way (as does Giant Man of The Avengers on occasion, though more often than not he's just crazy). Reed's loquaciousness usually results in ribbing from the Thing and the Human Torch (and, if they're in the room, the Invisible Woman or other heroes like Spider-Man).
    • It's a bit of a running gag that Reed is all too often explaining what a certain plot-relevant piece of machinery does rather than actually putting it to use, which causes The Thing endless annoyance, since he's the one doing the heavy lifting when they could be done by now.
    • Memorably lampshaded in Secret Wars just after the heroes were teleported into deep space by the Beyonder's machines. (Note: At the time of Secret Wars, Captain Marvel was the Monica Rambeau version, Iron Man was James Rhodes instead of Tony Stark, and the Hulk had Bruce Banner's mind.)

Captain Marvel: H-how'd we get here? I mean, one minute we're checking out this giant whatchamacallit in Central Park, then *POOF* the Final Frontier!
Mr. Fantastic: This much I can tell you, Captain Marvel--This device apparently caused sub-atomic particle disassociation, reducing us, as we entered, to proto-matter, which it stored until it teleported us here, to preset coordinates in space, where it reassembled us inside a self-generated life-support environment!
Hulk: That's obvious Richards!
Iron Man: Obvious? What'd he say?
Human Torch: Just hang out, Iron Man. Reed will get tired of talking in five-dollar words in a minute, and then he'll explain in English. Then he'll explain it again to the Thing in one-syllable words!
The Thing: Hey Torch--why don'tcha just shut up and look awestruck like the rest of us?

    • Adding to the trope, The Thing is the inverse, not because he's dumb but because he's plain spoken. He can generally understand what Reed is saying even when others don't and sometimes acts as the Translator Buddy. But some writers forget he's a former astronaut and write him as the big dumb guy because of the way he talks which itself is a meta example with writers inferring the character trait because of this trope.
  • Doctor Henry McCoy (a.k.a. Beast of the X-Men) does this all the time. In most incarnations, it's for the joy of wordplay—everyone he works with already knows he's a genius—though it undoubtedly has a side effect of convincing people he's never met before that even mutants who look like him can possess an enormous vocabulary.
    • And he does it with insults too; "go suck eggs" becomes:

Hank: Why don't you go orally extract embryonic fluid from a hen's egg?

    • On the magic side of the MU coin, We have Doctor Strange. Granted, half the words he uses ARE made-up, but it's still fun trying to try and follow him through a convoluted explanation of his spellwork.
    • The X-Men Noir version of the Beast, while genuinely intelligent (but not to the exaggerated levels of the normal one), goes out of his way to use larger words that he doesn't quite understand because it gives him a stronger air of intelligence.
  • Forge does this a couple of times. One time, he went into a lengthy plan involving geometry at a football game huddle causing everyone to get confused.
  • Both Calvin and Hobbes from Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes are known for having particularly verbose discussions with each other. This is occasionally mentioned, such as in the Tenth Anniversary Collection, in contrast with his usual failing grades at school.
    • He must obey the inscrutable exhortations of his soul.
    • He once wrote a book report entitled "The Dynamics of Interbeing and Monological Imperatives in Dick And Jane: A Study in Psychic Transrelational Gender Modes."
    • What if someone calls us a pair of pathetic peripatetics?
  • The Caged Demonwolf from Empowered, with lots of Alliteration. ("Like unto 80s action-cinema icon Michael Dudikoff, be you a fabled Ninja American, oh jingoistic jackanapes?")
    • His Imagine Spots are readily identified because it carries over to everyone's dialogue (even mid-ravishing).
  • Mammoth Mogul of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic is known for this, to the point that when told Mogul wants to talk with him, Sonic prays that he has a sore throat as he's got other things to do that day.
  • One of the Kingpin's lieutenants speaks like this in Daredevil: Born Again. Like the Sin City example above, this was also written by Frank Miller. It predates it by a number of years, but still.
  • In Major Bummer, one of the people affected by EEMs develops an extremely advanced brain (so advanced that his head balloons to gigantic size to hold it), but this has the side effect of making his already vast command of the English language utterly incomprehensible to all but the most astute of listeners, and even then only those armed with a dictionary.
  • Cerebus features a character known only as "The Judge", who may just be the walking incarnation of this trope. A seemingly omnipotent being, the judge never actually does anything with his limitless powers and knowledge because he is too busy making long, long, LONG expository speeches using very big words. How long? In his first appearance, he speaks uninterrupted for five. straight. issues.
    • Though to be fair, he IS telling the history of the creation and eventual destruction of the world. These things take time.
    • In a later issue, The Judge appears out of thin air to inform Death that he is about to die. And also that he is actually not Death at all, just delusional. It takes him more words to tell him this than the entire word count of the previous two issues combined. Leading to a Crowning Moment of Funny when "Death's" only response to this verbal tsunami is to say "Well, fuck me," and die.
    • Parmoorians have a well-deserved reputation for long-windedness. "Cerebus usually passes the time counting adverbs."
  • French comic book Achille Talon could have practically defined this trope. The hero , a fat bourgeois, adds verbosity to pedantry and pretentiousness to gullibility in an incredible verbal creativeness.
  • This is a prominent gimmick of The Penguin in almost all of his incarnations.
  • In All Fall Down, AIQ Squared suffers from this. He can't help it, it's in his programming.


Non-canonical material created by enthusiasts of particular media (Fanfic)[edit | hide]

"The ragged figure looming in the dusky storm-light bore little resemblance to the pompous young naif who delighted in using a type or kind of sesquipedalian loquaciousness to mock his foes. In truth, I had found his book-learning pretentious; I know a pretty word or two, but do not feel the need to flaunt them at every interval."

  • Gohan in Dragon Ball Abridged delves into this occasionally. Piccolo usually responds with "NEEEEEEEEEERD!!" (The irony there is that in the original, Piccolo was the one with a tendency towards pompous speech patterns.)
  • In one of Katieforsythe's Sherlock Holmes fanfictions Watson actually uses the word sesquipedalian to describe Holmes.
  • The Hungarian Matrix abridged series Vektor has a particularly beautiful example from Konrad Lorentz - AKA the Architect - delivered in Creepy Monotone. Neon's response is a Flat What.
  • Octa in The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova talks like this a lot.


Animated feature-length theatrical releases (Film - Animated)[edit | hide]

  • Mr. Ray from Finding Nemo: "Optical orbits up front. And remember, we keep our supraesophageal ganglion to ourselves. That means you, Jimmy."

"Aw, man!"

  • Wordy villain Cat R. Waul in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West is often wont to spit out long lines of English loquaciousness, and is often forced to describe his intent in simpler terms. He's voiced by John Cleese. Coincidence?... No.


Non-animated feature-length theatrical releases (Film - Live Action)[edit | hide]

  • The quote at the top is from Con Air, somewhat turned around to fit the description of the trope. It was spoken by Marshal agent Vince Larkin, an obvious poster boy for the trope, to DEA agent Malloy.

Larkin: [Cindino's] known to be somewhat garrulous in the company of thieves.
Malloy: Garrulous? What the fuck is garrulous?
Larkin: That would be loquacious, verbose, effusive. How about "chatty"?
Malloy: [to Devers] What's with Dictionary Boy?
Larkin: "Thesaurus Boy", I think, is more appropriate.

Jack Sparrow: I think we've all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically.

    • Not to mention "I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request... means 'No'."
  • The Architect in The Matrix.

The Architect: ...and therefore, ipso-facto, vis-a-vis, concordantly...you know what? I have no idea what I’m saying. I just thought it would make me sound cool.

Lamarr: My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.
Taggart: Goldarn it, Mr. Lamarr, you use your tongue prettier than a $20 whore.

Krauss: Shoot it in ze central ganglion!
Hellboy: What?
Krauss: Ze central ganglion... Shoot it in ze head!

  • Ulysses Everett McGill speaks almost entirely like this in O Brother, Where Art Thou??, as does villain "Big Dan" Teague.
    • At least in McGill's case, it's inverted in that the story makes it patently obvious that Everett is using the big words because he's trying to sound smarter, and because he does think he's smarter than his two less-inclined companions.
  • V of V for Vendetta introduces himself like this, complete with oodles of alliteration. He calms down eventually, but still speaks very intelligently. It's pretty epic, and implies that somebody pillaged a thesaurus a few times, specifically, the sections of a thesaurus between the letters "U" and "W".

V: Voilà ! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.
Evey Hammond: ... Are you like a crazy person?

  • Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. One of the many reasons why the script was so awful is that it appears when writing Hermione's lines, they wrote them out normally before getting out a thesaurus and changing all the words to make her sound smart. Examples include "Viktor's more of a physical being. I mean, he's not particularly loquacious"; "Again obvious though potentially problematic". This isn't present in the other films though.
  • In The Last Boy Scout, the two heroes are getting pummeled by an unusually verbose Mook's large companion, leading Bruce Willis's character to exclaim, "Shit, we're being beat up by the inventor of Scrabble!"
  • Can't forget I Robot. Dr. Calvin is very much like this in the beginning, though she sort of thaws out.

Detective Del Spooner: So, Dr. Calvin, what exactly do you do around here?
Susan Calvin: My general fields are advanced robotics and psychiatry. Although, I specialize in hardware-to-wetware interfaces in an effort to advance U.S.R.'s robotic anthropomorphization program.
Detective Del Spooner: So, what exactly do you do around here?
Susan Calvin: I make the robots seem more human.
Detective Del Spooner: Now wasn't that easier to say?
Susan Calvin: Not really. No.

  • In Necessary Roughness the coach is laid out with chest pains. He asks his doctor what he has:

Doctor: Hiatal Hernia. [describes his symptoms here]
Gennaro: Well, is it fatal?
Doctor: Indigestion? Only in Mexico.

  • Recommended to Jake in the beginning of Avatar. Met with limited success.
    • This trope possibly led to the downfall of Dr. Grace when attempting to explain to Selfridge. If she had said that that Tree of Voices was basically a sentient graveyard containing the entire ancestry of the Na'vi, and that there were billions of dollars in patents to be had in a single plant, maybe Selfridge might have listened. Instead she spoke in techno-babble about neurons, exponents, and spirits. None of which Selfridge considered "real."
  • Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters.

Pete Venkman: Hi, Egon. How's school? I bet those science chicks really dig that large cranium of yours, huh?
Egon: I think they're more interested in my epididymis.
Pete Venkman: ...

  • Doctor Emmet Brown from Back to The Future does this occasionally, though not as often (or as badly) as his counterpart from the animated series (see below).

Look! There's a rhythmic ceremonial ritual coming up!

  • The sleazy, pseudo-intellectual wannabe Southern-Fried Genius crook played by Tom Hanks in the Coen Brothers version of The Lady Killers.
  • The Coneheads' speech is a heavy mixture of this and Call a Rabbit a Smeerp.
  • No Strings Attached: Used quite a bit in the jokes of the doctors.
  • Muppet Classic Theater featured a particularly multiloquent gendarme in the included interpretation of "The Supreme Potentate's Neoteric Habiliments".
  • In Daddy Day Care, Charlie tries to avoid telling his obnoxious former coworker that he and Phil are now running a day care center, and instead says that they "offer management facilitation to, mostly, working professionals."


Print and written media (Literature)[edit | hide]

  • In Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours, Doctor Strange uses the longest words possible, much to Spidey's annoyance.

Strange: They are older than mountains, older than the seas. Since life first graced this sphere, and since that life called out to the mystic realms, echoing in harmony and sympathy, these beings, these Ancients, have been there to feed upon it.
Spider-Man: Really, you could have just said "Yes, they're old", and it would have been enough.

  • Meta-fictional example: In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Georgina's books are only written in this type of prose. Actually one of the characters think it's less difficult to say "hum" when an unusual word shows up rather than looking it up, with surprisingly good results. Made even weirder by the fact Georgina always speaks in a normal manner.
  • In the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, the nerdy magician Telemain always talks like this, with Morwen usually having to translate for him. However, when he is glared at hungrily by Kazul, a sentient dragon, he manages to speak normally, albeit very very slowly.
    • Also used in Dealing with Dragons of the same series, in regards to a book on the Caves of Fire and Night. At the end, Morwen says something about how the magic had worked, and Cimorene exclaims, "Just the way that impossible book says!" and Morwen responds, "Demontmorency? Yes, I suppose he is fairly impossible."

"Thus these Caves of Fire and Night are, in some sense, indivisible, whereas the Caves of Chance are, by contrast, individual, though it is preposterous to claim that these descriptions are true of either group of caves in their entirety..."

  • Ax gets into this on Animorphs, on account of being an alien.
  • Walter "Ramses" Emerson in Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series tends to embody this trope through his younger years, though he (mostly) grows out of it by around age 20, as stated by Amelia in "Guardian of the Horizon". Amelia herself could actually fit this trope in many regards, although it may be more her old-fashioned manner of narration than excessive verbosity.
  • The infamous The Eye of Argon uses absurdly obscure words whenever possible, sometimes whimsicorically making them up outright.
    • It also uses even normal words incorrectly (grammatically AND semantically), when it manages to even spell them right. "Many-fauceted scarlet emerald" is a particularly... colorful... example. The extremely-thinly-veiled discussion of the hero's current hit points also comes to mind.
  • This was the major character trait of William Harper "Johnny" Littlejohn in the Doc Savage novels.
  • Discworld: Ponder Stibbons often does this while trying to explain the underlying principles of magic to the other Wizards at Unseen University (at least the ones who don't work in the High Energy Magic building).
  • Mr Plum, the slimy teacher from The Rotter's Club. Heck, you need an encyclopaedia to work out what he's saying.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Elephant's Child (or at least, the audio version read by Jack Nicholson and music by Bobby McFerrin), the bi-colored python rock snake always talks like this, for that is how bi-colored python rock snakes always talk, O Best Beloved.

Bi-coloured Python Rock Snake: Rash and inexperienced traveler, we will now seriously devote ourselves to a little high tension, because if we do not, it is my impression that yonder self-propelling man-of-war with the armor-plated upper deck (and by this, O Best Beloved, he meant the Crocodile) will permanently vitiate your future career.

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay sometimes lapsed into this.
  • Christopher Paolini apparently feels the need to use a thesaurus at all times with the Inheritance Cycle, sparking copious mixed opinions from readers. Some find his writing captivating and interesting, while others basically write it off as a load of crap. Either way, you can't argue that he follows this trope to the letter, and younger readers may want to keep a dictionary open while traversing his prose.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Mr. Croup seems practically incapable of pronouncing any bon mot of less than polysyllabic length, much to the confusion of Mr. Vandemar. At one point he describes himself and Mr. Vandemar as having "funny clothes and convoluted circumlocutions", to which Mr Vandemar responds indignantly "I haven't got a circumlo..." Mr. Croup explains that the word means "a way of speaking around something. A digression. Verbosity."
    • This was, however, a Crowning Moment of Awesome for them due to the particular circumlocution they were employing there.
    • There's a heroic example with Mr. Ibis in American Gods, which makes sense, since he's Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom. The protagonist, Shadow does this occasionally, in moments indicating that he's a Genius Bruiser and not just Dumb Muscle (i.e. referring to sleight-of-the-hand magic as prestidigitation).
  • In the Young Wizards series, the wizardry manuals are given to insanely complicated language; it's mind-boggling how an eleven-year-old girl can even hope to understand it. "Temporospatial claudication" indeed!
    • Not unjustified, as these are English translations from a language which was designed from the ground up to describe the (actual, speculative, and alternative) workings of The Multiverse... or more accurately, reality reflects the language. In the first book, said girl spends around a week of study trying to understand the Speech well enough to even cast a simple spell. I'd imagine a year or two spent seriously studying what's basically a truly comprehensive and utterly accurate multidisciplinary textbook whose contents constantly reorganize to be exactly what its owner is currently most suited to learn... could produce mind-boggling results, indeed.
  • Anything written by China Mieville, although King Rat was much less verbose than the Bas Lag novels.
  • From At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft.

"The leathery, undeteriorative, and almost indestructible quality was an inherent attribute of the thing's form of organization, and pertained to some paleogean cycle of invertebrate evolution utterly beyond our powers of speculation."

    • Legend, at least, has it that he once got stuck with nothing to read but a(n abridged) copy of the Oxford English Dictionary...
    • At least this one had the excuse that it was supposed to be the recollection of a scientist printed in an attempt to prevent further exploration of Antarctica—many scientists in real life tend to go for complicated expression even when they wouldn't need to, in subconscious belief that it'll give a more intelligent impression. Universities often try to discourage this, but with limited success.
    • Would you believe he occasionally used this for deadpan snarking? From The Dunwich Horror: "But then, the homes and sheds of Dunwich's folk have never been remarkable for olfactory immaculateness."
  • Continuing in the Lovecraft theme in The Laundry, Charles Stross would often pay tribute to Lovecraft by jokingly describing eldritch-related things as "squamous and rugose". Of course, as his works take the Viewers Are Geniuses route, his own characters occasionally dip into this trope as well.
  • Doctor Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory is a stimulating compendium of destructive devices for all enthusiasts of the genre known as "steam-punk", plus those gentlemen of leisure who feel that their masculinity would be grossly enhanced by the acquisition of an Exterminator of Prodigious Dimensions.
  • Marmaduke Scarlet from The Little White Horse speaks like this. He's a guy who works in a kitchen.
  • Pretty much anything written by Stephen Donaldson tends to veer into this trope at times; particularly the Thomas Covenant books, where he also has a tendency to utilize archaic or obscure definitions for many commonly used terms.
    • Notorious, one group of characters in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant were described as being "featureless and telic, like lambent gangrene."
    • Then there's Mordant's Need, a more "realistic" work than the Covenant series in almost every way... except the swearing. (When the local equivalent of a wizard snaps "Excrement of a pig!" he might just be pretentious, but when a couple of rough private soldiers express their frustration by yelling "Fornication!" it's deeply jarring.)
  • Redwall's hares and more Wicked Cultured villains occasionally drop into this. "So what happens when the bally precipitation ceases?" (blank stares) "Sorry, I mean what happens when the rain stops?" And another time:

"What does he mean by 'arboreal verdance'?"
"Hmm, I rather think it means treetops, leafy green ones."
"Oh! So why doesn't he say treetops?"
"Why should he when he knows how to say words like arboreal verdance?"

  • In one of Anthony Burgess's short stories, Shakespeare and Ben Jonson are discussing the new King James version of the Bible. Jonson mentions that the initial choice for translator thought Genesis should begin with "In the initiality of the mundane entity the Omnicompetent fabricated the celestial and terrene quiddities."
  • George Orwell once took this one passage from the Bible:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

And rewrote it like this...:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

The entire thing can also be translated to mean "Success is random.":
    • Loquacious Bible? Try this. To my knowledge, the Old Testament did not get this treatment from the same author, thank Whomever.
    • Here's the NIV translation:

I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.

  • This trait is quite common among Jack Vance characters, generally as a sugar-coating on their jerkass behavior. Note that V, the page image is a character from a webcomic inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, a series which itself was inspired by Vance's writings.
  • Howard Hibble of the Jason Wander series is the leading expert on the aliens humanity is currently at war with, and occasionally lapses into this mode of speech. Lampshaded by Jason, who speaks normally but has good verbal skills, when discussing an alien device. Howard describes it as "a metallic, oblate spheroid." Jason translates this as "a tin football."
  • In Tamora Pierce's Immortals series, one of the characters (Numair Salmalín) is encouraged by his father to speak like this, to prove that he actually went away to school.
  • Mart, one of Trixie Belden's brothers. Other characters, such as Dan and Jim, pick this up from time to time to annoy Mart.
  • Tehol Beddict of The Malazan Book of the Fallen does this as his tradition mode of parlance.
  • Jupiter Jones, of The Three Investigators, employs this method of verbal communication habitually, although not necessarily invariably.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star, the protagonist calls out this tendency as bad speechwriting.

Now take this word 'intransigent,' which you have used twice. I might say that, but I have a weakness for polysyllables; I like to exhibit my literary erudition. But Mr. Bonforte would say 'stubborn' or 'mulish' or 'pigheaded.' The reason he would is, naturally, that they convey emotion much more effectively.

She could have written a fine book of synonyms, for as certainly as any one said anything in her presence that she had occasion to repeat, she changed the wording to six-syllabled mouthfuls, delivered with ponderous circumlocution. . . In his younger days, when discipline had been required, Kate once had heard her say to the little fellow: "Adam Alcibiades ascend these steps and proceed immediately to your maternal ancestor."


Non-animated episodic series produced for television networks (Live Action TV)[edit | hide]

"Frankly, I'm against people who give vent to their loquacity by extraneous bombastic circumlocution."

    • In the "Cheese Shop" sketch, the customer alternates between Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and slangy Cockney speech.
  • And speaking of John Cleese, in the Fawlty Towers episode, The Hotel Inspectors, he finds himself having to contend with a guest whose use of flowery, overcomplicated language renders him nearly incomprehensible. Representative quote:

Mr Hutchinson: This afternoon I have to visit the town for sundry purposes which would be of no interest to you I am quite sure, but nevertheless shall require your aid in getting for me some sort of transport, some hired vehicle that is, to get me to my first port of call.
Basil: Are you all right?

    • In "Communication Problems", Polly gets rid of the pushy, selectively deaf Mrs. Richards by asking Manuel to "lend her your assistance in connection with her reservation", knowing that Manuel won't understand.
  • The Sixth Doctor in Doctor Who took this to ridiculous lengths—and in Pip & Jane Baker scripts, most other characters would start talking like this as well.

The Doctor: Fortuitous would be a more apposite epithet!
Peri: Or, as we humans say, "Lucky would be a better word."

    • Pip and Jane Baker were really fond of the phrase "fortuitous would be a more apposite epithet". The Master uses it in "Mark of the Rani" as well. Of course, the Master, especially as played by Anthony Ainley, was always prone to thesaurus abuse.
    • The Sixth Doctor's talent for sounding like he swallowed a thesaurus and a full meal of cured pork haunch shows up a lot in the Big Finish audio dramas.

Banto Zane: Talking with you is like arguing with a thesaurus!

      • "Here we go, another voyage around the English language!"
      • Raised to an art form with the audio drama ...ish.
    • Couple the Sixth Doctor's vocabulary with Gilbert and Sullivan's music and the results are downright hilarious, as evidenced in Part 3 of the Big Finish audio drama Doctor Who and the Pirates. Can anyone say "I am the Very Model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer"?
  • This was part of the appeal (and Narmfuel) of Dawsons Creek.
    • One ad for the show pretty much came right out and said this: "They're teenagers but they don't talk like teenagers. Watch Dawson's Creek at [time] on [day]."
  • River Tam from Firefly occasionally slipped into this, with a mix of Infallible Babble and a banquet's worth of Word Salad.
    • Zoe could be said to have done this once when she said she felt "sanguine" about an upcoming meeting. She justifies it by explaining that "sanguine" means hopeful AND bloody, which, as Mal notes, "pretty much covers all the options"
  • Sir Humphrey Appleby in Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister speaks in an overly long and complex fashion in order to flummox his political masters and thus maintain the Civil Service status quo—however, he's so used to speaking in such a fashion that he's incapable of speaking clearly even when he genuinely wants to make himself clearly understood.
    • Not so much incapable as very, very reluctant. A short answer could generally be dragged out of him and usually formed the punchline to a joke. For instance, here's how Humphrey confesses his sins:

Sir Humphrey Appleby: The identity of the official whose alleged responsibility for this hypothetical oversight has been the subject of recent discussion is not shrouded in quite such impenetrable obscurity as certain previous disclosures may have led you to assume, but, not to put too fine a point on it, the individual in question is, it may surprise you to learn, one whom your present interlocutor is in the habit of defining by means of the perpendicular pronoun.
James Hacker: I beg your pardon?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: It was... I.

  • In How I Met Your Mother, the group have a conversation about Robin's new Argentinian boyfriend who can't speak English that well. When he arrives at the bar, they continue the conversation, but with longer words so he doesn't understand (he doesn't: he thinks they're talking about baseball). Funny, because their responses weren't all that different from before:

Barney: Come on Ted, back me up here.
Ted:I'm just happy Robin's happy.
[becomes]
Barney: Support my hypothesis, Ted.
Ted: I'm just jubilant my former paramour's jubilant.

    • The part of the conversation right before this, that is Robin explaining that she still likes Gael, includes the lines:

Barney: Within a triad of solar periods, you'll recognize your dearth of compatibility with your paramour and conclude your association.
Robin: My journey was transformative and I reassert my commitment to both the aforementioned paramour and the philosophies he espouses.

    • In reality, this isn't a very good plan, since longer words are more often cognates for close languages like English and Spanish.
    • Ted talks like this all the time, especially during the college flashbacks, because he is—in the other characters' own words—douchy like that. And his on-again/off-again high school/college girlfriend, Karen, talks like this all the time too.
    • Also in Old King Clancy while talking about GNB's firing room, the ETR, or Employee Transition Room:

Barney: It's a space where a supervisor and an employee engage in a knowledge transfer about an impending vocational paradigm shift.

      • And later:

Barney: So how'd it all go down between you and Bilson?
Ted: Well, after he proposed a vocational paradigm shift, I made an impromptu presentation using a four-pronged approach that really brought him to his knees.
Barney: Hit him with a chair?
Ted: Yup.
Barney: That's my boy!

  • Billy on the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers spoke like this; every time he said anything, everyone looked expectantly at Trini until she translated. However, when the situation became truly dire, he sometimes lapsed into regular speech; whether this meant he used big words to show off intelligence or the show had bad writers was never explained. This tended to get phased out as the seasons went on, as if his hanging out with the other teens helped him pick up their speech habits (or possibly because Trini had left). Ironically, most people watching the show on TV could understand him fine, or at least guess the intent of his statements by context. It's only in-universe that anybody that's not Trini not equally as intelligent as him is left utterly confused.
    • The best example of this is "Life's A Masquerade" when he gives the Morphing Call for the first time. Instead of the standard "It's Morphin' Time" Billy-Speak turns it into "It's time for Molecular Transmutation."
      • However, by Season 3, he called out a standard "It's Morphin' Time".
  • Speaking of Power Rangers, RPM's Dr. K does this on occasion (i.e. when she's not being blunt), including to hilarious effect in "Ghosts" when she threatens her leader, Colonel Truman, with inserting laxative into his coffee mug, which would lead to a case of explosive diarrhea.
  • Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation occasionally did this, particularly when attempting humor or referring to an idiomatic expression. For Example: "I could be pursuing an untamed ornithoid without cause." (wild goose chase).
  • Lampshaded in Friends when Joey uses a thesaurus on every single word of a letter he's writing in an attempt to sound intelligent.

Monica: All right, what was this sentence, originally?
Joey: Oh. "They're warm, nice people with big hearts."
Chandler: And that became, "They're humid, pre-possessing homosapiens with full-sized aortic pumps?"

  • In the episode "Ink and Incapability" of Blackadder the Third, Dr. Samuel Johnson, author of the first English dictionary, speaks just like that ("I celebrated last night the encyclopedic implementation of my pre-meditated orchestration of demotic Anglo-Saxon."). Blackadder resorted to using made-up long words to freak Johnson out in retaliation ("Oh, I'm sorry, sir. I'm anaspeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation.").
  • The "genius" types on Bones, including the character nicknamed "Bones", do this often. Justified, in that those who do so outside of the professional circumstances in which it's expected show other signs of Asperger's as well, particularly Dr. Zack Addy.
    • Brennan once agreed with someone by saying, "I concur. Vehemently!"
    • And then there's this exchange from "The Titan on the Tracks":

Dr. Hodgins: It's seventy percent amorphous silicon dioxide.
Booth: What's that?
Dr. Hodgins: It's a common domestic container.
Booth: Oh, like a jar. Why can't we just say "a jar"?

    • Dr. Gordon Gordon Wyatt does this too, possibly becuase he's played by Stephen Fry
  • Major Dr. Samantha Carter and, to a lesser degree, Dr. Daniel Jackson were often guilty of this on Stargate SG-1.
    • Also Teal'c:

Teal'c: I would prefer not to consume bovine lactose at any temperature.
Teal'c: Undomesticated equines could not remove me. (although he was joking that time)

  • Gibbs gets annoyed just about every single time it happens on NCIS. Ducky justified one instance by saying he likes the word "exsanguinate".
  • Used frequently on A Bit of Fry and Laurie. This sketch is a good example, as its use of gratuitous linguistics turns what would otherwise have been an unremarkable barber shop sketch into several minutes of hysterical laughter.
  • Lampshaded in The West Wing by the President, who says:

"In my house, anyone who uses one word when they could have used ten just isn't trying hard."

  • Spinelli on General Hospital, though this seems to be because he's a Rain Man.
  • Judge Joe Brown often uses this trope, apparently in an attempt to try to add some class to his "folksy" image (and possibly to intimidate the clueless people who come on his show), but instead he usually ends up coming across as pompous.
  • Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory talks like this all the time.
    • Any of the four main geeks do this often, mostly between themselves or colleagues when discussing theories or projects, but are quick to drop it around Penny as to include her... well, except for Sheldon, but he expects people to accomodate him in any situation, and will complain about having to do so for others.
  • Russell Brand would also use this trope frequently. Made all the more visible by that he'd only really be doing it to make a Nob Gag. On a show about Big Brother.
  • Rhonda from the Direct to Video special Psalty's Salvation Celebration is like this in her first scene, sounding like she stuck her dialogue into an internet thesaurus translator. Thankfully, this is toned down in all her following scenes.

"We'll be villaging with our father over the summer respite."

  • EB Farnum in Deadwood is a blighter for this. In almost every episode, Al has to reprimand him for either using a gillion words to say three, or more often, for repeating Al's short, to the point statement with new, longer words.
  • In one episode of My Family, Abi applies for a job in a library and memorises an entire dictionary to help her prepare for the interview. She doesn't get the job because the interviewer doesn't understand a word she's trying to say.
  • Rob Petrie tried to explain his brother's symptomatic somnambulance to Sally. She stared at him and said to Buddy, "Could you tell him not to talk to me like that?"
  • Rome subverted this one; Pullo (a common soldier who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer) would occasionally come out with some big ol' Latinate word, which seemed out of place in his mouth...until you realized, hey, he's speaking Latin.
  • Married With Children: Kelly Bundy manages to bust out some big words for such a "bombastic simpleton". She doesn't always use the right words, but sometimes she's spot-on.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century used this trope at times, especially in the earlier episodes. Often Lampshaded by having Buck be increasingly irritated at having to stop and figure out the "simplistic" 20th-century equivalent for whatever the other characters are talking about.

Guard: "You'll need a delocking disk."
Buck: "A delocking disk..." (Blank look for a moment.) "Oh, you mean a key." (takes the disc from the guardr, grumbling under his breath) "Why do you people in the future have to make everything so complicated?"

  • In the Just Cause episode "The Last to Know," when Peggy tells Ted that her car was towed, he replies:

Ted: Well, just another reason why I recommend bipedal modes of transportation.

    • Note that Ted rollerblades everywhere. Even indoors.
  • Wanda in Corner Gas is prone to this.

Lacey: Maybe people get put off by your big words...
Wanda: You mean intimidated by my vocabulary?

    • See also her chant when she goes on strike in "Get the F Off My Lawn":

Wanda: Restitution! Remuneration! I demand indemnification!
Brent: Wow, you do a lot of crosswords, huh?


Lyrical and instrumental arranged works (Music And Sound)[edit | hide]

  • Emplaced here is a somewhat superfluous version of the especially popular lyrical work "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". The original rendering of this work was specifically composed for an infantile audience. The following version is for those amongst us who find the urge to utilize the aforementioned trope irresistable, even while making an attempt to lull a young insomniac into a recuperative state.

Scintillate, scintillate globule aurific:
Fain would I fathom thy nature specific
Loftily poised in the ether capacious
strongly resembling a gem carbonaceous
Scintillate, scintillate globule aurific
Fain would I fathom thy nature specific.

    • Similarly, Three Blind Mice:

A triune entity of myopic rodentia
A triune entity of myopic rodentia
Observe how they perambulate
Observe how they perambulate
They circumnavigated the agriculturalist's spouse,
Who excised their posterior extremities with a carving utensil
Have you witnessed such an occurrence in your existence
As a triune entity of myopic rodentia?

  • In the Fats Waller song "Your Feet's Too Big", Waller liberally uses long, erudite words during the song, such as "Your pedal extremities really are obnoxious."
  • Isaac Hayes' "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" ("My gastronomical stupensity is really satisfied when you're loving me...")
  • Michael Nesmith's post-Monkees solo work is notorious for this, though his most verbose song, "Wax Minute" ("minute" as in small) was actually written by someone else.
  • Bad Religion, a punk band, seem to be quite fond of this. Here is just one example out of many. There is also a fan-made lexicon, for use in all of your pedantic endeavors into abstruse grandiloquence.
    • An immense plethora of the sesquipedalian tendencies of the lyrics can ostensibly be attributed to vocalist Greg Graffin, the band's resident "Master of Science."
  • A lot of the super lyrical rappers in Hip Hop fall into this trope.
    • Rakim
    • Canibus: who admitted to reading a thesaurus.
    • Most Wu-Tang Clan members like Method man, GZA (they call him "the genius" for a reason), The RZA, and Inspector Deck.
    • Eminem to some degree has this as well, as his style is actually very eloquent and verbose at times, despite whatever the topic may be.
    • If we're on the subject of rappers, Busdriver, just listen to any song of his from "Roadkillovercoat" onward
  • Tom Lehrer's song "Lobachevsky" refers to the title character's first original paper, which had the easy-to-remember title of Analytical Algebraic Topology of a Locally Euclidean Metricization of an Infinitely Differentiable Riemannian Manifold. Most listeners would assume Lehrer was playing this trope straight—but anyone familiar with the historical Lobachevsky and his work in geometry would realize that this was actually a perfectly reasonable title for a paper in his field of math.
    • Heck, half of Tom Lehrer's works are quiiite vorbose. And the other half... Needs brain bleach.
  • Tim Minchin. It doesn't matter if he's currently singing about "the motherfucking pope", he'll still squeeze in some very eloquent words.
  • Joanna Newsom often plays this straight, because a lot of her songs are fairy tales. They also tend to be long. And gorgeous. Example:

"Now her coat drags through the water / Bagging, with a life's-worth of hunger, limitless minnows / In the magnetic embrace / Balletic and glacial of Bear's insatiable shadow"

  • The Decemberists, anyone? Give Red Right Ankle a listen. "Oh, adhere to me / for we are bound by symmetry."
  • Simon Bookish, from his stage name on up, is a perfect example of this. Just listen to his song Carbon.
  • Former Disney Channel star Emily Osment, a well-educated teenager born to a family of teachers, is very good at throwing in (by teen-pop standards) long words and verbosity in her music, jokingly calling them "SAT words" in interviews. It was a point of pride that a song on her album Fight Or Flight, "Gotta Believe In Something", used the word "miscreant" in it.


Computational, mobile, and other post-television media (New Media)[edit | hide]

  • A common game in the Image Boards is the "Verbose Thread": everybody must speak with the most convoluted sesquipedalianisms possible, and that includes the Image Macros. "I think halo is a pretty cool guy, he kills aliens and doesn't afraid of anything", for example, becomes "I hold a personal ideology whose central belief is that Master Chief from the Halo videogames is a quite remarkable and interesting man, because he terminates extraterrestrials and does not cower in the face of insurmountable odds." This has led, for example, to "NO U" becoming "I would like to elucidate the fact that the aforementioned statements about me apply more accurately to their own author."
    • Fascinating anecdote, fraternal sibling.
      • I optically perceive the actions you have performed upon the above discussion.
        • I would like to relate to my compatriots above that i am currently revolving to and fro upon the coniferous foundation of my abode, exhibiting so much hilarity i am of the opinion my posterior is detaching from my frame.
  • The title of this blog post by PZ Myers.
  • Twas The Nocturnal Segment of the Diurnal Period (aka Twas the Night Before Christmas).


Sequential art intended for inking upon newsprint (Newspaper Comics)[edit | hide]


Sports entertainment programming (Professional Wrestling))[edit | hide]

  • Promos are a good way for a wrestler to build his/her character, explain their motivations, etc. Some will occasionally slip into this. And then you have John Morrison, who always talks like this, seemingly rambling on and segueing from topic to topic without any real connection to the original topic whatsoever. Which is made to be even more ridiculous when compared to his (former) tag team partner, "The Miz", who speaks in a very basic fashion (who uses the Marine rallying cry "OOO-RAH!" as a period).
    • John Morrison is a blatant Captain Ersatz of Jim Morrison who tended to talk like this in interviews.
  • The Ultimate Warrior was also famous for this, interspersing feral snarling, grunting, and shouting with long, rambling promos peppered with million-dollar words used almost-correctly. In his later years, he even started throwing in words he made up out of whole cloth, apparently believing his character motivations to be too complex to explain in the English language as it stands. Case in point...
  • Bob Backlund's mid-'90s comeback Heel Turn was characterized by his speaking with words from the unabridged dictionary; notably, calling the fans "plebians".
  • In late 2009, it is Chris Jericho who is noted for using an SAT vocabulary, usually as an insult towards the fans WWE Universe, calling them gelatinous tapeworms, germ incubators, hypocrites, pharisees, among other not so nice things.
  • Brian Pillman used to engage in a bit of this. For example, un the promo where Chris Benoit was drafted into the Horsemen, Pillman ranted about how Sting "regaled [his] obsequious lapdogs with [his] reprehensible act."
  • Humorously played with in a Mad TV sketch featuring Bobby Lee as a high school wrestler wrestling a science geek played by...Triple H, speaking with big words and all, in a falsetto voice.
  • Gorilla Monsoon was fond of using obscure medical terminology in his play-by-play. A shot to the back of the head would be described as hitting "the external occipital protuberance," while a chair-shot to the back would be said to have damaged "the subscapularis area."


Transistor soundbox media (Radio)[edit | hide]

  • Eugene on Adventures in Odyssey speaks this way to the point of hilarity or exasperation, depending on who he's speaking to.
    • Katrina has a vocabulary to match Eugene's, but is careful to limit her verbosity to when they are speaking to each other, although even this seems to have changed by the time she returned from her bus trip.
  • W.C. Fields made this into a career.
  • The Bob & Ray character Dr. Eugene Stapley, the 'Word Wizard', is a broad parody of this trope... at times possibly just a bit broader than intended. After Bob suggests 'plunging straight into the mail': "Male and female serve only to differentialize one type of living creature from another. Now, undoubtedly some male members of the animal kingdom would be softer, say, to plunge into than others; but in any coincidence, the act of literally plunging into the male would in all probabilitiness be injureful!"


Non-electronic gaming media (Tabletop Games)[edit | hide]

  • Bad roleplaying character descriptions can invoke this trope as the result of their players evidently consulting a thesaurus every few words in an attempt to sound eloquent or pad out their description to hundreds of words. This is just one example.
  • The flavor text for the Magic: The Gathering card Uktabi Kong, apparently meant to convey that he's smarter than the average ape: "I desire the acquisition of a potassium-rich fruit comestible of substantial magnitude."[1]


Stage-acted media (Theater)[edit | hide]

  • The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade.
  • Hamlet spoofs it with the character Osric, who desperately tries to look intelligent by talking this way. Hamlet mocks him by going even farther over the top with it. As you might imagine, a Shakespeare speech that's deliberately written to be obtuse and impenetrable is quite something to witness.
    • Let's not forget Polonius and his love of speaking many words! "Brevity is the soul of wit," indeed.
    • And the Archbishop in Henry V, whose loquaciousness over Henry's right to the French crown is usually played for laughs, but also hides the reality that Henry's claim to the English crown was almost as weak (his father having been an usurper)
  • The Mikado: Pooh-Bah "can trace [his] ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule."
  • Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore speaks with exceedingly purple prose for a "humble sailor".
  • Parodied to the extreme with Lucky's three page monologue in Waiting for Godot. Read through it carefully and there is actually a philosophical point being made, but it is embroidered with so much verbal diaorreah, non-sequitors and just sheer nonsense words that it sounds like a complete load of gibberish.
  • In one version of the Three Little Pigs, the judge's page speaks this to a ridiculous extent.
  • Jerry, a character in Voices From the High School, decides to imitate the language of Shakespeare, much to his friend's chagrin.
  • Parodied in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, which includes the line "We have traced the roots of Shakespeare's symbolism in the context of a pre-Nietzschean society through the totality of a jejune circular relationship of form, contrasted with a complete otherness of metaphysical cosmologies, and the ethical mores entrenchted in the collective subconcious of an agrarian race". The published version of the script contains a footnote: "Don't bother reading that sentence over again. It's covering a costume change and is completely meaningless".


Electronic gaming media (Video Games)[edit | hide]

  • The Engineer in Team Fortress 2 frequently switches between this (when he's explaining his constructs or means of defending himself) and a comparatively more simple way of speaking.

"Hey look buddy, I'm an engineer, that means I solve problems. Not problems like 'What is beauty?' because that would fall within the purview of your conundrums of philosophy. I solve practical problems. Fer instance: How am I gonna stop some big, mean mother-hubbard from tearing me a structurally superfluous new behind? The answer...use a gun. And if that don't work? Use more gun."

  • One character encountered early in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal speaks like this, and uses it as evidence that he is more intelligent than everyone around him. If your own character has a high enough Intelligence score, you can insinuate (in a similarly roundabout, verbose way) that you think he does so to make up for a rather private "deficiency" on his part.
    • Edwin too, IS this trope.

Edwin: Marvelous work! You've obviously exceeded your lowborn heritage and surged to the vanguard of goonery!
Protagonist: ... Uh, what?

  • Taken to ridiculous extremes in the fan-made Phylomortis RPG Maker games where every single character spoke in nothing but big words... including children no older than six years old. Even the in-game tutorials abused this. That, coupled with their Nintendo Hardness made the series inaccessible to all but the most dedicated gamers. The sole gimmick of the game was its ridiculous standard of vocabulary, however, so it's safe to say that its target audience (however small) was indeed captured.
    • Not just the characters. Most of the menu commands and system dialogue, too. Most games would be content with ending a battle with "Victory!" or "You won the battle!" Phylomortis capped it off with "You mercilessly slew the obnoxious foe..."
  • Sam of Sam & Max, a six-foot canine shamus, tends to express himself in this general manner. Said manner tends to annoy his partner. Perhaps his most elegant wordsmithing takes place in this promo. Sam occasionally demonstrates that he is Sophisticated As Hell.

"An episodic sociopathic lagomorph. The mind boggles."

  • Valve's Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator (Gravity Gun) from Half-Life 2, and Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (Portal Gun) from Portal, as well as many of the utterances of the Genetic Lifeform and Disc Operating System from the latter title. The latter partially comes from the Aperture Science folk wanting to stick their name in front of everything (Aperture Science Material Emancipation Grill, Aperture Science High-Energy Pellet, Aperture Science Vital Apparatus Vent, etc).
    • Dr. Kleiner is likewise rather prone to communicating in this manner, especially when the nature of his audience makes it inappropriate.

Dr. Kliener: For those so inclined, now would be an excellent time for procreation! Which is to say, in layman's terms, you should seriously consider doing your part for the revival of the species.
Alyx: Is Dr. Kleiner actually telling everyone to... get busy?

  • Luke Atmey from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney -- Trials and Tribulations combines this with a flair for descriptions that are over-dramatic to the point of obtuseness. Phoenix can usually only manage a rough translation, usually for the benefit of Maya, who is more often totally lost.
    • Don't forget Redd White's fantabulous vocabulosity!
    • And Valant Gramarye, who combines this with alliteration. Apollo even notes that "his overly loquacious manner can get annoying".
    • Wesley Stickler and his penchant for using twenty words to say what that can be said in five deserves a mention too.
  • Lord Rugdumph gro-Shurgak in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion is a victim of this as well, although he never gets it right:

"How may I persist you?"

  • Dmitri Petrovich and Stephanie Morgan from Backyard Sports definitely fit this trope.
  • Volteer from The Legend of Spyro talks like this, often to the annoyance of the other Dragon Guardians and Sparx, though Spyro somehow has no problem understanding him. Example:

Volteer: It's hard to be absolutely sure, Ignitus, but it seems she was using me as some sort of suspended, organic power source.
Sparx: Huh?
Spyro: She was using him as a battery.
Sparx: Why didn't he just say so?

    • another one from Volteer:

Volteer: Your hypothesis is an intriguing one, but it is perplexing to the extreme
Sparx: Huh?
Spyro: He says he doesn't know what he's talking about.

    • Bentley from the original series did this. Or at least, the one from Spyro 3 did.
      • Why, you bragily avaricious duplicitous, larcenous ursine!
  • Luxord from Kingdom Hearts makes his entrance declaring the Heartless boss he summons a "veritable maelstrom of avarice".
    • In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, he combines this trope with alliteration and a hefty amount of gambling-related puns.
    • Every character whose consciousness derives (either fully or partially) from a Xehanort will inevitably resort to this, usually for the purpose of monologuing. Master Xehanort gets to deliver a particularly-sesquipedalian two-word insult - "Feckless neophyte" - though the rest of the Xehanort incarnations each have their own chance to try their hands at it.
  • Due to her immensely dry dialogue, Shelke from Final Fantasy 7: Dirge of Cerberus has been classified as this by fanon.
  • Dr. Ludger Brink does this in The Dig to distract an alien monster from eating colleague Maggie Robbins (to no real purpose, as it cannot possibly understand English in any form). In fact, it almost backfires, as the big words prove equally distracting to player-character Boston Low. When Brink urges Low to hurry up with the rescue, he just mutters, "I'm still trying to figure out what you said."

Brink: Come here, you phlegm-carapaced slime-faced mucus-brained furry-legged abductor of luminously intelligent but pulchritudinous Earth women!
Boston: ...
Brink: Low, you idiot! Why are you standing there?

  • Generation V of Pokémon gives us Shauntal of the Elite Four, who talks like this until you beat her, at which point she simply proclaims you "awesome!". She reverts right back to her normal, diffuse speech right afterwords, though. Apparently she's a writer.
  • In Fire Emblem 9 and 10, Bastian is often known for this, and contrasted with Geoffery who often verbally plays The Stoic.
  • Ishi tends to do this in Bulletstorm. His partner... doesn't.

Ishi: "Shoot those tanks, the blast compression will create a-"
Hunt: "Shoot the tanks, that's all you gotta say!" *BOOM*

  • The Protoss from StarCraft have a habit of doing this sometimes, especially Judicator Aldaris.
  • One of the True Final Boss in Hellsinker was called "Floccinaucinihilipilification".
  • Near the end of Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, when Guybrush asks De Singe what he's doing with the Vaycaylian Wind Control Device (before attempting to toss La Esponja Grande into the device), De Singe replies, "You see, using my handbuilt Harpsichronitron, in conjunction with my Oscimoligrophiscope to seek out a resonant frequency with the Vaycaylian Climatiphone, I hope to anatomize living tissue on a macroscopic basis!" Guybrush, however, becomes clueless and can ask De Singe to repeat with the purposes of all this machinery, and De Singe can translate that he's using the piano device ("this machine") to make the Wind Control Device ("that machine") "smash people into a fine powder," which, of course, causes Guybrush to say, "Hey, that's not very nice!"
    • Also, in "Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay", Guybrush has another meaning to "You suck!":

Guybrush: My assessment of your cannon-operating skills, not to mention your personal appearance, odor and intelligence, is that you are unmistakably inferior in each of those criteria.

  • Mr. Featherly, the Shakespearean-trained thespian rooster in Sam and Max.
  • Lex the bookworm in Bookworm Adventures often speaks like this; this is, in fact, the whole point of the game, as the longer words you spell, the more damage you inflict on your enemies. There's also the game's finale, where Lex actually uses a slightly shorter version of one of the words mentioned in the trope description to deliver the final blow. See here (major spoiler warning!).
  • Miles "Tails" Prower from the Sonic the Hedgehog series does this occasionally. His most famous example.
  • Yvonne Barnes from In the 1st Degree engages in this. Of course, she is working for the mayor and she is a witness in a murder trial. Her reputation and image are important to her as a result.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword brings us Beedle the shopkeeper. Talk to him in the day when he's doing his job, and he speaks like every other NPC out there. However, if talk to him at night, when he's not on duty, he suddenly talks in a highly affected accent and starts using words like "tenebrous." If you bring it up to him, he brushes you off.
  • By the second Fantasy Quest game, the narration turns into full-out parody, challenging you to "absquatulate with the Golden Cufflink of Fire"...
  • Kei Nanjo of the original Persona sometimes lapses into bouts of this.
  • In Ratchet and Clank Going Commando, Captain Qwark disguised as Abercrombie Fizzwidget does this... or at least tries to. However, he just comes off looking like a total moron as he constantly spews words that don't exist. Because we only see him for a few seconds, it's unknown if the real Abercrombie Fizzwidget is like this, but given how... not all there Qwark is, it's unlikely.


Internet-originated sequential graphic media (Web Comics)[edit | hide]

  • Vaarsuvius from Order of the Stick, especially early on.
  • Marcus from 1/0 not only uses big words, he makes them up. In keeping with the rules of English, albeit words only eccentric bureaucrats (or Lewis Carroll) would ever use. E.g.: complexitization, endetailing, envivifating, manifestulates, etc.
  • The Slice of Life webcomic Typographical Acknowledgment uses this infrequently, most prominently in the title. It is more however a comment on teenagers' overuse of Purple Prose in any written work of theirs. Naturally, it is written by a teenager who overuses Purple Prose in any written work of his.
  • Penny Arcade's Tycho, both the author and the in-comic persona, likes to do this, as does his niece Ann (AKA Annarchy).
    • When Penny Arcade did the mini-series Automata, Carl Swangee at one point refers to talking about the weather as "the ambient barometric pressure".
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, the hyper-intelligent fuzzy monster Molly peppers her speech with big, obscure, or antiquarian words—but she is equally likely to use teenage slang or kindergarten kiddie-speak. Galatea makes observation of her sister's odd speech patterns here.
  • Rocky, of Lackadaisy Cats, the majority of the time.

Rocky: (trying to avoid being shot) Avril, Avril! From one reasoned individual to another... uh, if speech is truly what separates us from the beasts... as the Greeks suggested... I remain optimistic we're not yet beyond a resolution... uh, through civil discourse?
Avril: ARRAAWRGH! (slams Rocky against a wall and throws him to the ground)

    • This becomes even more noticeable when he's around Freckle, who rarely says more than a couple words at a time.
  • Massey Reinstein in Schlock Mercenary uses this trope to intimidate Schlock in one strip. It works.

Ebby: Well? How'd it go?
Schlock: (close to tears) Massey beat me up with big words.

    • Equally fun is a few strips earlier, when Ebbirnoth describes having had his only (grapefruit-sized) eye shot off, and the effects of the drug cocktail he was given to keep the pain under control.
  • The L33t D00d from Megatokyo has his nigh-impenetrable l337 5p33k translated as grandiose prose. ""j00 90++ @ chO0$3 +3h r19h+ 94M3, 0r 5}{3 w1LL 0wnz0r j00", for example, becomes "You must be committed to the correct game; otherwise, defeat is inevitable".
    • A more literal translation though is: "You gotta choose the right game, or she will own you."
  • MS Paint Adventures: Too many to count, but this page is probably the most Egregious example.
  • In Emergency Exit Nyos uses this trope to discourage anyone from speaking to him when he responds at all. However he will use simpler speech when he wants to be understood. Even his boss has a difficult time with him.
  • In Bob and George, there's an entire alternate universe consisting out of people who only talk like this. Sure, they can dumb themselves down to communicate with the lessers, but when at one point there's a present, a future and a far future version of two characters there's only Sesquipadalian dialogue.
  • Kin, the yuan-ti from Goblins lapses into this when she's stressed.

Kin: Yuan-ti have a high intelligence when compared to humanoids and in my case, it causes me to fall victim to an exponentially redundant vocabulary when I become nervous.

  • Nature of Nature's Art has almost every important character talk this way, thanks in large part to the very nature of the web comic, though it's eased up in the latter portions of the latest story.
  • Rose Lalonde from Homestuck. She wrote a game FAQ entirely using this and Purple Prose, just for one example.
    • An eventual character corresponding to her via IM services, Kanaya, has just as big of a vocabulary if not moreso, and applies it in a less purple and more literal way.
    • Equius falls victim to this from time to time.
  • Questionable Content's Hannelore Ellicot-Chatham will often descend into this, especially if she's having a nervous fit. Faye can also pull it off when she's feeling especially snarky.
  • Suicide for Hire's characters all use long words, and a lot of 'em. The comic's banner has a caption reading "Yeah, it's got dialogue. If you don't like it, you are entitled to bite my ass."
  • Fetch Quest: Saga of the Twelve Artifacts' Felicia tends to use big words when she talks, which is perfectly fine for her, but awkward for others. Ambrosia calls her out on this practice:

Ambrosia: Felicia, I'm twelve. Don't throw around big words.

  • Exterminatus Now. Professor Lewis tries to explain a concept to the (somewhat pro)tagonists, and fails utterly. Finally, he went in the exact opposite direction, and summed it up:


Internet-originated non-sequential graphic media (Web Original)[edit | hide]

  • Wikipedia can be said as being infamous for this:
    • This Wikipedia article is about men having erections in their sleep. Sort of justified in that the author would take great pains not to sound vulgar.
    • Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the effects of tetrodotoxin, the poison found in pufferfish:

"Paresthesias[2] of the lips and tongue are followed by sialorrhea,[3] sweating, headache, weakness, lethargy, ataxia,[4] incoordination,[5] tremor, paralysis, cyanosis,[6] aphonia,[7] dysphagia,[8] seizures, dyspnea,[9] bronchorrhea,[10] bronchospasm,[11] respiratory failure, coma, and hypotension.[12]"

This is pretty typical for articles dealing with the symptoms of various toxins. At least they're (usually) courteous enough to Pothole the more arcane words so you can just click them and say to yourself "oh, is that all that means?"

Look up Eubonics, I mean African American Vernacular English on wikipedia, without grinning, its tougher than it sounds.

Animated media originating in the various nations of the Occident (Western Animation)[edit | hide]

Plankton: Felicitations, malefactors! I am endeavoring to misappropriate the formulary for the preparation of affordable comestibles!

    • WHO WILL JOIN HIM?!?!?!?!?
    • Patrick, surprisingly, talks this way several times, just not to the point seen above.

Patrick: The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma.

  • Reggie Moonshroud from Gravedale High often talks like this.
  • Dexter on Dexters Laboratory is fond of doing this. Notable examples include making a to-do list that included the chore "Aquatic Nutrifacation" instead of "Feed Fish". He also refers to the wheels on a car as "High Output Torquifiers".
    • Unique in that this is how a young boy would actually do something like this, as "nutrification" and "torquifiers" are not actually words, just suffixes hastily slapped on thesaurus-poop.
  • Fellow pre-Teen Genius Jimmy Neutron in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron is also fond of the trope.
  • Wind Whistler on My Little Pony. "This meteorological debabacle is quite anomalous." Peach Blossom too: "I will reconnoiter post-haste and ascertain what has transpired!"
  • Edd in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, often to the annoyance of his less-educated peers.

Edd: Yup? Is that all you have to say for yourself? YUP? No rash attempt to deprive Kevin of his fortune?
Eddy: Scam Kevin. ...That's what he said, right?

  • Tish in The Weekenders. It becomes a plot point of an episode where the others refer to it as "Tishing" and it becomes a widespread saying.
  • As Brainstorm (a "sea food platter with a rather high IQ", as he puts it), Ben is prone to using extremely large words. With a British accent. His previous "smart form", Greymatter, tended to use words of a more normal size unless referring to scientific principles.

Grey Matter: What is your malfunction? Probably something stupid like the DNA splicing replicator copying a fragment of amino acid sequence. (Pause as Ben's mind starts to catch up) So this is what it feels like to be smart.

  • One episode of The Simpsons has Homer start talking like this after a Sleep Learning tape intended to curb his hunger is switched with a vocabulary builder. "Lamentably, no. My gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety."
    • Later played with, when Homer loses his vocabulary without regaining his ability to communicate succinctly.

Homer: Marge, where's that... metal dealy... you use to... dig... food...
Marge: You mean, a spoon?

    • Some of the more intellectually inclined Springfield residents (Sideshow Bob, Professor Frink) occasionally indulge in this. And then there's Mr. Burns and his Antiquated Linguistics.
      • Being the aesthete that he is, Sideshow Bob however rejected the sesquipedalian but inelegant "disembowel" in favour of a much shorter word when he wrote down what to do with Bart in Cape Feare:

Sideshow Bob: No, I don't like that 'bowel' in there. Gut him! Ah, le mot juste.

  • One episode of Word Girl involves a villain using Applied Phlebotinum to cause random people to use large words in order to sell dictionaries.
  • Doctor Octopus in The Spectacular Spider-Man, especially post-Freak-Out. "I cannot believe I once lived in this anemic hovel."
  • Perceptor, of The Transformers. It's particularly bad when your fellow robots, all of whom would likely have the whole of a given language in their databanks, ask you to say something "in [language], please". It probably doesn't help that he has a habit of going into details WHILE using complex words, to the point where Optimus tires of it in seconds.

Highbrow: I suppose it's the only meritorious way out of a meretricious situation.
Hardhead: Yeah, me too, like he said.

    • Oddly enough, Brainstorm, who was the actual Smart Guy of the team, spoke fairly commonly unless he actually needed the jargon.
    • You don't wanna get Genius Ditz Bulkhead from Transformers Animated talking about space bridges. You'll miss Perceptor.
    • Across all series, Call a Rabbit a Smeerp is in effect and machine-related terms with elements of the Cybertronian life-cycle mixed in are always used. This can leave characters who are not supposed to be geniuses talking as if the X-Men's Beast taught them English on the way in. They're not parents, they're "protoform batch initiators." Even the show's tagline, "More Than Meets the Eye", can be given onscreen as "more than meets the optic sensors."
  • The writers for Looney Tunes sometimes had a fondness for big words. Mid-1940s, Daffy was quite fond of this. He once asked a crying dog, "Why the copious flow of lachrymal fluid, my garrulous canine?"
  • In the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series more than any other incarnation, Donatello is guilty of this. He frequently geeks out about future technology or the chemical properties of things he runs across, and Techno Babble ensues. One of the others (usually Michelangelo, but occasionally Raphael) acknowledges this, and usually asks him to repeat himself in English this time. Though sometimes the writers sacrifice snappier dialogue to remind us that he's the smart one:

Donatello: If we take the south conduit, it'll intersect with the old drainage tunnel!

  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Mo'Linguish", Mojo Jojo teaches the whole town to speak like he does. The simple, straightforward word is intentionally neglected in favor of over-eloquence. Example from the Mayor, calling about a bank robbery:

The Mayor: There is a stealing of sorts happening at the place where money is given and taken, that is to say deposited and withdrawn -- and sometimes redistributed and loaned. But currently the taker is taking that which is not his, thus performing an act of illegality, which could result in incarceration within the confines of a penal facility, that is to say prison, jail, hoosegow, et cetera.

  • In an episode of Phineas and Ferb, Fireside Girl Gretchen (the one who wears glasses) earns her "Saying a Word No One Else in the Room Knows" accomplishment patch by actually saying the world "sesquipedalian".
  • Spoofed in the South Park episode "Woodland Critter Christmas", where Mousey the Mouse is a parody of the stock "Smart" character in cartoons, complete with comically large glasses and a slavish adherence to this trope.
  • Same thing goes for Brain on Arthur. In fact, it's shown that his parents keep a large dictionary at the dinner table because of it.
  • Don Karnage, the leader of the Air Pirates in Disney'sTale Spin, does this a lot.

Don Karnage: My brilliant mind tells me that it may be time for a strategic withdrawal.
Mad Dog: Say what?
Don Karnage: RUN AWAY!!

  • Dr. Emmett Lathrop Brown, a.k.a. The Doc, as portrayed in the Back to The Future animated series, is the king of this. The movie version, while prone to Techno Babble, isn't nearly as bad. Jules is also a master at it.
  • Futurama: Good old Professor Farnsworth can have this affect when he actually is making sense

Farnsworth: There. That space-time eversion has given us their box and vice-versa!
Leela: So what you think you just explained to us is that -
Farnsworth: Correct! This box contains our own universe!

  • Mr. Longface Caterpillar from the 2009 Strawberry Shortcake movie peppers his speech with overly fancy words, which are translated by Blueberry Muffin. This is inverted at one point when he mentions fool's gold, and Blueberry "translates" this to its official name, iron pyrite.
  • In the Pinky and The Brain episode "TV or not TV" Brain has a brief career as a stand-up comedian involving him insulting the audience by phrasing his insults using Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
    • The Brain does this constantly, even going so far as to rephrase common expressions with more advanced vocabulary ("The game does not conclude until the woman with the eating disorder ululates.")
  • Egon Spengler's penchant for this in The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters is turned Up to Eleven from his movie counterpart.

Peter: "Egon, remember what I said. If you're gonna stay on our planet, you have to speak our language."

  • Tom in The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan is practically defined by this trope, to the point where his siblings have commented more than once about how they wished he'd speak English. Also in "The Greek Caper", Tom was about to offer his suggestion on how to search for missing statue and was gently told by Alan to "keep it simple".
  • Moonrock on The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show would always do this. When the team went looking for a four-leaf clover to improve Schleprock's bad luck, he exclaimed, "Eureka! A Marsilea quadrifolia!"
  • Gretchen on Recess commonly speaks like this.
  • The Vreedle Brother of Ben 10 Ultimate Alien are a bizarre combination of erudite and slow-minded idiots.
    • Ben's Brainstorm form does this often.
  • In the Rankin Bass special Twas the Night Before Christmas, the Mayor parodies this. Whenever he wants to sound important, he attempts this, then gives up partway through.

"Of all the perfidious purveyors of chicanery I have ever had the misfortune to... oh, heck. Go home!"

  • Hey Arnold! had Mr. Green run for city councilman against Councilman Gladhand, one of whom's tactics was using big words. Mr. Green even worried he couldn't win the election because he thought he couldn't sound as smart. He does win.


Nonfictional depictions of the current recurring theme (Real Life)[edit | hide]

  • Nikola Tesla invented the plasma lamp (those things that were cool in the 80s), but he called it an Inert Gas Discharge Tube.
  • Certain sciences have extensive "in" jargon and vocabulary that have no synonym that can be properly explained in simple terms. Worse, some terms mean completely different things when used accurately than when used by laymen. As a result sesquipedialian loquaciousness can sometimes be the only way of saying something because saying it "in simple English" makes it considerably less true.
    • To start with, remember that in the sciences "theory" means "well-tested hypothesis that is tentatively accepted as accurate" (for example gravity has worked the same way every time it's been tested, thus it's behavior is a scientific theory). In common parlance it just means "guess". Meanwhile, "law" is a much weaker concept, not a stronger one, used to create models under specific conditions. For example, Newton's law of gravity is that objects are pulled toward each other with a force equal to GMm/R2, and still holds for most purposes. His now-discredited theory of gravity is that this is a universal fact and that's all there is to it - since Einstein, there are several competing theories of gravity, as well as several new laws for special cases, but Newton's law still basically holds.
      • While the appropriate scientific term for "guess" is the more loquacious "hypothesis."
    • When Penzias and Wilson were working with a microwave receiver in the mid-1960's, they kept getting some background hiss which they couldn't get rid of. While documenting their work they found that the horn of the antenna was covered by "white dielectric material", which had been "deposited" by the grey avian residents of the horn (i.e. pigeon shit).
    • The portrayal of this trope in fiction largely comes from these fields, in which someone speaking as tersely as possible without sacrificing precision can sound extremely longwinded, even mystical, to a layperson; this backfires to those versed in any of those fields, however, to whom this kind of longwindedness is associated with novices who don't yet understand that this will only highlight their inexperience, or with studies with a high emphasis on language itself - you know, arts.
  • Older economists are infamous for their extremely long book titles. You Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations? Try An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Yeah, baby. Economics as a science also has the most (initially) confusing terminology of any science.
    • For example, the interest rate for loans from the Federal Reserve to banks is called the Discount Rate. Seriously?
  • Older Than Dirt: This seems to be a characteristic of ancient Mesopotamian religious poetry. Apparently, the scribes who wrote them consulted ancient dictionaries for the express purpose of using very obscure words and wildly obsolete grammar to Mind Screw their audience.
  • Norse Skalds had the habit of describing really simple objects by complex multi-component metaphors, filling their poetry with literary riddles that were deliberately hard to decipher.
    • An example would be "Beowulf", or Björn(Bear). Bears like honey, they prey on it. Bees make honey. Wolves are predators. Bears are like wolves to the bees, therefore Bee-wolf.
  • This is the passage for which Judith Butler won the 1998 Philosophy and Literature Bad Writing Contest: "The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power."
    • Translation: "As political theorists started thinking of institutions as things made by states, rather than components of states, they had to start thinking about how time and progress affects politics, rather than assuming that all institutions of the same type work more or less the same across time periods."
  • Medical doctors are accused of using long Greek or Latin words to describe symptoms or illnesses that have simple common names. Some of it is unnecessary, but it also helps to make it absolutely clear exactly what they mean, you wouldn't want a mistake made because something wasn't exact.
    • Dave Barry mentioned this in one column, when he went to the doctor because his tongue was swollen. The doc called it something in Latin which Dave claims to have later looked up that meant "swollen tongue".
    • The best: "idiopathic". Which means "we don't know why it's doing that stuff".

House: ...from the Latin word meaning, "We're idiots because we can't figure out what's causing it."

    • Then there's "iatrogenic", an adjective for diseases caused by medical treatment.
    • And don't forget "nosocomial", meaning that nasty bug you got from the hospital.
    • Some doctors will also do this for insurance purposes. Many insurance companies require a diagnosis before paying for a visit, resulting in diagnoses like "benign dermal melanin concentrations" (freckles).
  • Computing is one area that has so much jargon (both technical and slang) that when you've had extensive exposure to the field, such as taking a Computer Science degree at university, or have just simply been mucking around with computers for years, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to explain something to someone with less knowledge of the subject than you.
  • Everything becomes funny if you describe it with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, as Dr. Henry Gibbons has shown us: "A kiss is the anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicular muscles in a state of contraction."
    • Also known as "osculation".
    • Scientific American got in on the game as well: "the localized knowledge and know-how developed with untutored experience in particular everyday settings and activities--the so-called school of hard knocks"
  • U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden is well known for this. During the 2008 Democratic primary, when asked at a debate whether he could be disciplined enough as president to restrain his tendency to run on at the mouth: "Yes."
  • Another U.S. Vice-President who engaged in this was Spiro T. Agnew. He also liked alliteration. Instead of calling the naysayers 'naysayers', for example, he called them 'nattering nabobs of negativism'. Many of these locutions were the product of the mind of his speechwriter William Safire, who would later go on to write the "On Language" column for The New York Times.
  • Composer Igor Stravinsky lapsed into this sometimes; an example taken at random from his book Poetics of Music: "The true hierarchy of phenomena, as well as the true hierarchy of relationships, takes on substance and form on a plane entirely apart from that of conventional classifications. Let me entertain the hope that the clarification of this thesis will be one of the results of my course, a result I greatly desire."
  • The Postmodernist Generator lets you generate random texts using complex but utterly meaningless vocabulary.
  • The winner of the 2006 Ig Nobel prize in Literature was Daniel M. Oppenheimer of Princeton University for his report "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly"
  • Baseball Hall of Famer "Orator Jim" O'Rourke.
  • Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, was an extremely well-educated man who was incessantly guilty of this trope. Some of his speeches which survive to this day contain sentences more than a hundred words in length.
  • Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was sometimes criticised/mocked for not being able to say things simply. One famous example is him saying that a formerly paraplegic man had "achieved ambulation" (i.e. was able to walk again)
  • Ron Dennis, the former boss of the Mclaren Formula One team, made such exemplary use of this trope that it became known around the paddock as "Ronspeak". Asked why he spoke like that, he replied, "Adherence to a homogenous lexicon axiomatically optimises messaging consistency. So it works".
  • When comedian Dennis Miller starts to rant during his shows, he's pretty quick to break out his more verbose vocabulary in rapid succession, and is difficult to follow should one not be birthed from a tome of words.
  • The nonfictional portion of The Science of Discworld points out that without the use of "privitives" in language—terms for the absence of things, such as "dark" (no light), "cold" (lack of heat), or "sober" (a state of non-intoxication) -- everyone would have to talk like this.
  • Jeremy Bentham, the founder of Utilitarianism, never used one short word when he could use a dozen long ones. Here's his attempt to sum up the philosophy in one sentence:

"A man may be said to be partisan to the principle of utility, when the approbation or disapprobation he annexes to any action, or to any measure, is determined by and proportioned to the tendency which he conceives it to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the community."

    • In other words, a Utilitarian should try to produce as much happiness in the world as he can.
  • Russell Brand has made a veritable art-form out of blending prolixity and profanity. Garrulously, he will pontificate, sermonize, and evangelize, interminably vociferating fustian rhetoric - and all for the sake of a Nob Gag.
  • In his interviews and documentaries Orson Welles somehow manages to be a Sesquipedalian Loquacian Deadpan Snarker.
  • Richard Feynman, in his memoirs, recalled attending a lecture in some social science or other wherein he encountered the following sentence: "The individual member of the social community often receives his information via visual, symbolic channels." "Feynman "translated" this sentence as follows: "People read."
  • The preface to The United States Department of Defense Fact File admonishes readers against this trope. See the Quotes tab.
  1. "I want a big banana."
  2. "pins and needles" type sensation; this is about the most justifiable of the lot, given the awkwardness of using the more common description
  3. drooling
  4. incoordination
  5. Yes, they used this one twice. See what happens when you use words nobody without a medical degree understands?
  6. bluish skin
  7. inability to speak
  8. difficulty swallowing
  9. shortness of breath
  10. excessive phlegm
  11. sudden constriction of the airways
  12. low blood pressure