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What's a big-vocabulary word for someone with a big vocabulary?

I'd like to say I'm looking for a "_____".

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@kiamlaluno: A fancy-schmancy word that most people don’t know, or at least wouldn’t use very often. Some people use such words rather indiscriminately, and more than is necessary, to show off about having a big vocabulary. On the other hand, others use unusual and exotic words more judiciously, with pleasure and playfulness. Your mileage may vary as to judging which is which… – PLL Feb 15 '11 at 22:44
@PLL: That is what I meant. It is rather subjective what a big vocabulary word would be. – kiamlaluno Feb 15 '11 at 23:00
Garrulous? No. Loquacious? Probably not. Both mean talkative, not necessarily having an extensive vocabulary. Verbally pompous? Maybe... – Double U Jan 29 '14 at 2:43
I think verbalist is the word we are looking for as discussed here - english.stackexchange.com/a/272568/106212 – plkmthr Sep 6 '15 at 21:00
up vote 11 down vote accepted

A lexicomane?  Literally: someone who’s mad about dictionaries…

This seems to be too new and/or marginal a coinage to appear in the major dictionaries yet; but it’s made from standard parts, and made well, so should be easily comprehensible (certainly by any big-vocabulary-person), and seems to be gaining quite a bit of currency (googling it reveals plenty of use). On Wordnik.

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I dunno, I kinda like Thesaurus Rex

enter image description here

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Can someone please post an excerpt from this book?! – geotheory Jan 24 '15 at 12:05

I was going to suggest sesquipedalian — which is certainly a big word, although perhaps not as precisely aligned with an extensive vocabulary as lexicomane (other than by inference). Still, I'm unsure that PLL's call is the right one.

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Sesquipedalian means 'of a foot and a half', it was originally used of words, meaning 'a foot and a half long', but if applied to a human being it would mean 'lacking half a foot' (and yes, I do know someone to whom it applies). – TimLymington Jul 19 '11 at 9:51
@TimLymington, the foot in question is a metrical foot, especially a dactyl (long-short-short) in quantitative verse--the basic foot of classical epic Since a long is equivalent to two shorts, this foot is divisible into two, and the patterns short-short-long-short-short and long-short-short-long would each be a foot and a half. In English, with its accentual-syllabic verse, the word sesquipedalian exemplifies itself only in the vague sense of long word, but not literally in the more precise sense, since it is two whole dactyls. – Brian Donovan Jun 14 '15 at 13:02
@BrianDonovan: In Horace's Odes (the only respectable primary source that I know of) it is specifically "a foot and a half long", not prosodic. Your interpretation is a natural one, but not sipported by evidence. – TimLymington Jun 14 '15 at 13:10
@TimLymington It is a natural interpretation of Horace's own usage in context, Ars Poetica 96-98: "Telephus et Peleus cum pauper et exsul uterque / proiicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba, / si curat cor spectantis tetigisse querella." Linear measure is generally far less applicable to verbiage than syllabic measure. – Brian Donovan Jun 14 '15 at 16:29

Vocabularian has the advantage of being quite adequately hoity-toity while also reasonably clear.

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As @PLL and @fotunate1 noted, lexicomane and sesquipedalian are probably the words that most accurately describe someone with a big vocabulary.

Here are some other words that mean one who studies or is knowledgeable in words; such a person would have quite an extensive vocabulary, I'd hope:

  • Philologer
  • Glottologist
  • Wordsmith
  • Vocabulist
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You could go with "logophile", a lover of words.

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A lexicographer is someone who compiles dictionaries, maybe that would fit the bill? To be honest, your questions isn't crystal-clear...

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Nope, there are tons of lexicographers that speak normally (do not speak bombastically). – Pacerier Dec 1 '13 at 2:03

I came up with 3 terms.

  1. logophile - a lover of words
  2. sesquipedalian loquaciousness - sesquipedalian(long words; polysyllabic) ; loquacious(talkative)
  3. gross verbosity - verbose(wordy)
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Megagaltastic: I'm looking for a megagaltastic individual

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Do you have a proper citation for that? – tchrist Mar 16 '13 at 16:13
@BellevueBob Preferably something that’s curated, not crowd-sourced. Also, it isn’t nice to link to spammy sites like that. – tchrist Mar 16 '13 at 19:47
Okay, I'll delete the comment. That was just one of several "hits" from a web search. Just curious why the answer got so many down-votes, but I visit here rarely. – BellevueBob Mar 16 '13 at 19:52
This may be a valid word in the future lol... – Pacerier Dec 1 '13 at 2:04

protected by RegDwigнt Mar 16 '13 at 17:19

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