Words that are a foot-and-a-half long?

While reading a bit of commentary from north of the border, I came across a word, a big word unknown to me, sesquipedalian.

So I had to look it up, and Douglas Harper and his Online Etymology Dictionary don’t disappoint.

1610s, “person or thing a foot and a half long,” from Latin sesquipedalia “a foot-and-a-half long,” from sesqui- “half as much again” (see sesqui-) + stem of pes “foot” (from PIE root *ped- “foot”). As an adjective 1650s. Meaning “sesquipedalian word” (1830) is from Latin sesquipedalia verba “words a foot-and-a-half long,” in Horace’s “Ars Poetica” (97), nicely illustrating the thing he is criticizing.

Words that are a foot-and-a-half long? That certainly describes Conrad Black. But I do like him and his writing. His insights are a good perspective of whatever he’s commenting about.

Black’s trial and imprisonment is a case of the power of vindictive bureaucrats using the State to pursue their perverted senses of justice. Far too many people, from Martha Stewart to thousands of black men, have been wrongly caught up in the corrupt, highly profitable justice system.

There’s a lot of money in prisons. And we must demand reform! It’s time to reduce the prison population.

ajh

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