How do we describe a word that has many syllables?

For example, what's the correct way to rewrite the sentence below?

However these names end up being very long both visually and pronunciationally.

  • 1
    Personally I'd go with "However, these names end up being very long."
    – Hellion
    Jan 31, 2012 at 2:19

5 Answers 5


Are you looking for polysyllabic?

  • 2
    Is this sentence OK: "However these names end up being very long visually and polysyllabic." I'm not sure why but it sounds a bit weird.
    – Pacerier
    Jan 30, 2012 at 8:46
  • 1
    I think that sounds ok. Nice word.
    – Urbycoz
    Jan 30, 2012 at 9:05
  • 2
    No, I find that sentence a bit pleonastic. I would write "these names end up being polysyllabic". Although it's hard to know whether that makes sense in your context, when you've only given us a single sentence.
    – user16269
    Jan 30, 2012 at 9:23
  • "these names end up being polysyllabic" seems to mean "these names end up having more than one syllable. What I want to express is "these names end up requiring a ton of syllables to fully pronounce them".
    – Pacerier
    Jan 30, 2012 at 10:12
  • Barrie England has what you want then. sesquipedalian, from L. sesquipedalia verba "words a foot-and-a-half long". etymonline.com/index.php?term=sesquipedalian
    – MetaEd
    Jan 30, 2012 at 15:17

If you seek to impress, you could try sesquipedalian. (There is, by the way, no adverb from pronunciation.)

  • I don't know how much it will impress; I've only ever seen it used in criticism (having that "turnabout is fair play" quality of communicating, "This is the affectation you portray when you use stupidly big words.") But I think that, using common endings, a big word would be a sesquiped, writing with lots of big words would be sesquipedal and would display the attribute of sesquipedality, and the writing itself and the person who wrote it could be accused of being sesquipedalian.
    – Phil N.
    Jan 30, 2012 at 16:41
  • If you really want to impress, how about tripedalian? That's twice as long.
    – JeffSahol
    Jan 30, 2012 at 17:07
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian?
    – user3490
    Feb 2, 2012 at 22:48

The construct in your question is indeed a bit awkward. You could rephrase it as These names end up being too long, both to look at (write) and to pronounce.


I think I would say, ”These names end up being too long and awkward (of speech*),” with the assumption that defining the indirect object of the adverbs negates the purpose of being sententious, or pithy.

*contingent upon the audience


mouthful/It's a mouthful


A very long word or phrase m-w

"I love this word because it's a mouthful, but it sounds go together wonderfully."




unscrupulous or deceptive behavior; trickery. R.H. Fiske; The Best Words

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.