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Floccinaucinihilipilification: College Admission Essay Sample

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Floccinaucinihilipilification [flok-suh-naw-suh-nahy-hil-uh-pil-uh-fi-key-shuh n] (noun) - The action or habit of estimating something as worthless.

As long as written languages have existed, curious words have been nestled in the pages of out-of-the-way texts. In English, words such as set (with the most definitions of any word, at 464), rhythms (the longest word with no vowels) and abbreviated (why is it so long?), have fascinated logophiles (lovers of words) for centuries. As an avid reader and former Latin student, I have always considered floccinaucinihilipilification to be my favorite word due to its origin, length, and unique definition.

In the 18th century, one page of the book Eton Latin Grammar listed several synonymous stems, “flocci, nauci, nihili, pili,” all roughly translating as “of little value.” After one schoolboy of Eton College concatenated the stems and added -tion to the end (purportedly as a joke), he breathed life into floccinaucinihilipilification. The word achieved prominence as the longest non-technical word in English.

The word first caught my eye for its utter absurdity, excess syllables, and novel backstory, but it has remained my favorite for other reasons. I have observed that the definition of the word perfectly describes the common reaction it elicits. Many individuals believe such a gargantuan word has no value. In other words, the characteristics of the word have led to the floccinaucinihilipilification of floccinaucinihilipilification. Despite this humorous unintended consequence, the word can be a valuable teaching tool. When I first learned the word as a child, I was curious to find out the meanings of each of its constituent parts. My vocabulary soon expanded as I learned other words such as floccus, pilus, and nihilist. The interconnectedness of root words, and the fact that every word has an origin story has amplified my love of language, and floccinaucinihilipilification typifies these interests.

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Floccinaucinihilipilification: College Admission Essay Sample. (, ). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
“Floccinaucinihilipilification: College Admission Essay Sample.” GradesFixer, ,
Floccinaucinihilipilification: College Admission Essay Sample. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Sept. 2023].
Floccinaucinihilipilification: College Admission Essay Sample [Internet]. GradesFixer. [cited 2023 Sept 28]. Available from:

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