You might be wondering why we’re referring to the condition as fear of long words rather than its more appropriate medical term. However, once you hear the de facto name of the condition then you’ll understand. For some odd reason, we just didn’t feel like typing hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia out again and again. We’re not even joking, doctors coined a term knowing full well that those with this condition would freak out upon hearing it.
The irony isn’t lost to us, but we’ll digress anyway. The American Psychiatric Association — commonly shortened to APA — classifies it as a type of social phobia in accordance with the criteria set by the DSM-5. Beyond the obvious symptom of this condition, those who are affected may also be afraid to read, have dizziness, and even faint on some occasions. Here are some of the causes.
One of the most common causes of the fear of long words is genetics. It might seem surprising to you that a phobia would be hereditary, but you should remember that various mental illnesses can also be passed down through genetics. Many studies have shown that people who have parents with a fear of long words tend to develop that phobia themselves. Another factor that could be contributing to this is exposure to the phobia.
Even if the genetics don’t play a role in the transmission of the phobia, children may learn to fear long words themselves if they always see their parents fearing them. After all, evolution is designed in such a way that infants learn from their parents and rely on their knowledge to survive. If one of your parents or relatives has a fear of long words then you’re at higher risk for developing the condition yourself.