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Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness

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Elizabeth Swann: Captain Barbossa, I am here to negotiate the cessation of hostilities against Port Royal.
Captain Barbossa: There are a lot of long words in there, Miss; we're naught but humble pirates. What is it that you want?
Elizabeth: I want you to leave and never come back.
Barbossa: I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request.
Elizabeth: [stares at him in shock]
Barbossa: Means "no."

Sesquipedalian: A long word, or characterized by the use of long words. From the Latin roots meaning "a foot-and-a-half long."

Loquaciousness: That would be garrulousness, verboseness, effusiveness. How about "chattiness"?

A predilection by the intelligentsia to engage in the manifestation of prolix exposition through a buzzword disposition form of communication notwithstanding the availability of more comprehensible, punctiliously applicable, diminutive alternatives. Also known as "gross verbosity". Related to this is the use of inkhorn terms, loanwords from a foreign origin that are pretentious to an average speaker.

In brief: "smart" characters using long words when short ones would be better, especially when they are also motor mouths. Characters afflicted with this trait often seem to go out of their way to over-complicate their speech, probably because writers think that this is the only way to show that someone is more intelligent than the average writer. This could also be the trait of a particularly anal-retentive character who always has to be right, the trait extending so far that the character always has to use exactly the right word — never using "blue" when "azure" or "indigo" or even "royal blue" would be more accurate, for example.

Occasionally such characters may drop the long words if things get particularly dire, to emphasize just how bad things are (in the same way as a Sarcasm Failure). Alternatively, they may get even more wordy as they get more emotional, leading to increasingly detailed but ultimately incoherent ranting that falls too easily into wangst. Frequently another character will respond with something like "Wouldn't it be easier to just [whatever the brainy person said, in layman's terms]?" or "And [layman's terms version], too!" In The United States, when someone really has no idea what the person says, they'll say something like, "Could you repeat that in plain ol' Galveston English?"

Williams Syndrome can lead to this kind of behavior. People with Asperger Syndrome and some forms of Dyslexia may do this in an attempt to be as precise as possible, ironically making themselves harder to understand.

The Narcissist, The Paranoiac, and other less-than-pleasant personalities may engage in this as well, often to try and convince others—or themselves—that they are smarter than most people. On a more sinister level, it can also be used as a form of verbal Gaslighting, in order to confuse, swamp, and manipulate the receiver so that a particular end may be met. The Con Man sometimes makes use of this trope too when passing off as a professional or an expert in their apparent "field", duping others into thinking that the only reason they don't understand what they are selling is that they are smarter than them or that they can trust them, when in fact they are spouting nonsense and looking to take advantage of their ignorance.

While maintaining a strong endeavor to avoid flogging a deceased equine, or beat a dead horse, in some cases technical jargon is necessary to be understood, but in too many cases a person doesn't consider that the audience is not that technically inclined and a simpler, although less precise description would work just as well.

One of the symptoms of Spock Speak, but averted in a good Private Eye Monologue. Usually also a Motor Mouth. Goes well with British accents, too. Used frequently in Sommelier Speak. Often takes advantage of the fact that Talking Is a Free Action, and could be a case of Acoustic License if the surroundings would make it difficult to hear clearly in the first place, much less understand the words. Can often lead to an Expospeak Gag. See also Techno Babble, Antiquated Linguistics, Sophisticated as Hell, Technical Euphemism, and Department of Redundancy Department. May result in Calling Me a Logarithm. If someone tries for this and can't get the words right, they're perpetrating Delusions of Eloquence. If the author commits this, see Purple Prose. The word Antidisestablishmentarianism is almost guaranteed to show up as well.

Very heavily associated with the Steampunk genre in particular, and Truth in Television in that case, as the Victorians did speak a form of English that was more complex and verbose.

It's worth noting that there is a word for the fear of long words; ironically, it's "sesquipedalophobia" often exaggerated by people into "hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia". There is an element of Artistic License – Linguistics involved, as "phobia" is a Greek root, while "sesquipedalo-" is Latin * note  See also Scary Science Words.

The polar opposite of Buffy Speak and Layman's Terms. Big Words redirects here, for those of us who prefer to avert this trope in Real Life (or are just incapable of spelling it correctly off the tops of our heads). Contrast the Laconic Wiki. Compare and contrast Proverbial Wisdom for the typical speech patterns of wise, enlightened, and spiritual characters who use a lot of riddles, proverbs, and flowery metaphors. Also note the similarity to Techno Babble. May require one to have a Translator Buddy.

When a character attempts this but lacks the vocabulary to follow through properly, see Malaproper.

For a self-demonstrating version, please click here: Enjoy.


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  • A Red Stripe beer commercial (titled "Big Word") shows a man giving an office presentation. He uses the word "equanimity", and the Red Stripe Band bursts in with the following:
    Ooh, look at you, using a big word in an office meeting all correctly and stuff!
    You got a big presentation and colleagues to impress
    why not employ complex vernacular to substantiate your intelligence...
  • One of the MetLife Peanuts commercials had Sally Brown give a soapbox speech about the insurance company, using a lot of flowy complicated language. Snoopy chimes in with signs reminding her, "Keep it simple, sweetie," since MetLife tries to make things simple to understand. Sally even turns the "Get Met, it pays" slogan into, "Acquire Met, it remunerates!"

    Anime & Manga 
  • Episode 22 of Azumanga Daioh does this in the English Dub. In the Japanese version, it's just Gratuitous English.
  • Leeron in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann frequently does this after the Time Skip, with "short versions" inevitably following after he loses his audience.
    Leeron: Genetic diversity via sexual reproduction is the key to evolution.
    (confused Reaction Shot from the Dai-Gurren Brigade)
    Leeron: (makes a heart shape with his fingers) Love makes the world go 'round! <3
    "Oh!" "Of course!"
    • Lordgenome's Head is pretty bad at this too.
  • Genshiken uses this for its Idiosyncratic Episode Naming. This is done as if the episodes were a college thesis paper; it's done for the whole first season — hinted to be done by the President (who might or might not have cameras hidden everywhere) — while more normal episode naming is done during season two.
  • Yue of Negima! Magister Negi Magi tends to do this on occasion.
  • Ulquiorra in the Viz Media translation of Bleach flaunts his vocabulary in almost every conversation.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion pretty much anyone in the technical division at NERV does this, Dr. Akagi being the worst offender. "General Purpose Humanoid Decisive Weapon Evangelion" indeed...
  • Digimon Adventure's Izzy tends to fall into this sometimes when he plays Mr. Exposition, further solidifying his place as The Smart Guy.
  • Scanty and Kneesocks in the English dub of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya's Kyon often falls into this during his narration. Yuki will often provide one or two syllable answers to rather important questions, be prompted (usually by Kyon) into giving longer answers, and the longer answers end up in this incomparable form.
  • Matsuki from Kunisaki Izumo no Jijou is prone to this with regards to school work.
  • Project A-Ko. This line from Miss Ayumi in the dub as she's doing a lecture in class.
    Miss Ayumi: When the poet says "Oh, to substantialize this supasataitias ontological quitity." He is expressing something that I think you'll agree is central to most people's lives. At the same time, what does it tell us about his absurdist views of human existence? A good question. Then his obsession with ecumenical transcendentalism is revealing.
  • Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet: When Ledo wakes up on the eponymous fleet, his mecha needs to analyze the language of the natives. To do so, Ledo grabs the nearest girl, runs away with her on his shoulder, and, just to make her talk some more, touches her ass. What follows is a Expospeak Gag-based Narrative Profanity Filter translation by Chamber to be about "reproduction with one's mother, as well as sanctified excrement".
  • Ao in Asteroid in Love has the tendency to use very exact and technical vocabulary when explaining astronomy, regardless of the audience. The effect of this varies; Ao's explanations scared a toddler, but got a few other people—including Mira—interested in astronomy. It is also deconstructed in the Shiny Star Challenge arc; she doesn't get into the eponymous science summer camp because she wrote the entrance essay that way—she wrote dozens of pages, and cut it down to two.

    Comic Books 
  • Shlubb and Klump (a.k.a. Fat Man and Little Boy) from Sin City indulge in this type of dialogue in an attempt to look intelligent. However, they tend to mix a fair amount of malapropism in with it as well. The result is called Delusions of Eloquence.
  • In The DCU, this is a trademark of "Big Words", a member of the Newsboy Legion. And his Marvel Universe counterpart, Jefferson Worthington Sandervilt of the Young Allies.
  • Brainiac Five, from Legion of Super-Heroes is another excellent example. Some of the incarnations of him are actually consistently annoyed that he has to "dumb it down" for his fellow Legionnaires.
  • As the example on the Quotes page demonstrates, Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four tends to talk this way (as does Giant Man of The Avengers on occasion, though more often than not he's just crazy). Reed's loquaciousness usually results in ribbing from the Thing and the Human Torch (and, if they're in the room, the Invisible Woman or other heroes like Spider-Man).
    • It's a bit of a running gag that Reed is all too often explaining what a certain plot-relevant piece of machinery does rather than actually putting it to use, which causes The Thing endless annoyance, since he's the one doing the heavy lifting when they could be done by now.
    • Memorably lampshaded in Secret Wars (1984) just after the heroes were teleported into deep space by the Beyonder's machines. (Note: At the time of Secret Wars, Captain Marvel was the Monica Rambeau version, Iron Man was James Rhodes instead of Tony Stark, and the Hulk had Bruce Banner's mind.)
      Captain Marvel: H-how'd we get here? I mean, one minute we're checking out this giant whatchamacallit in Central Park, then *POOF* the Final Frontier!
      Mr. Fantastic: This much I can tell you, Captain Marvel — This device apparently caused sub-atomic particle disassociation, reducing us, as we entered, to proto-matter, which it stored until it teleported us here, to preset coordinates in space, where it reassembled us inside a self-generated life-support environment!
      Hulk: That's obvious, Richards!
      Iron Man: Obvious? What'd he say?
      Human Torch: Just hang out, Iron Man. Reed will get tired of talking in five-dollar words in a minute, and then he'll explain in English. Then he'll explain it again to the Thing in one-syllable words!
      The Thing: Hey Torch — why don'tcha just shut up and look awestruck like the rest of us?
    • Adding to the trope, the Thing is the inverse, not because he's dumb but because he's plain-spoken. He can generally understand what Reed is saying even when others don't and sometimes acts as the Translator Buddy. But some writers forget he's a former astronaut and write him as the big dumb guy because of the way he talks, which itself is a meta example with writers inferring the character trait because of this trope.
  • X-Men:
    • Doctor Henry McCoy, a.k.a. Beast, does this all the time. In most incarnations, it's for the joy of wordplay — everyone he works with already knows he's a genius — though it undoubtedly has a side effect of convincing people he's never met before that even mutants who look like him can possess an enormous vocabulary. Interestingly, in his earliest appearances in the X-Men comic, he was not portrayed as particularly intelligent. However, Stan Lee decided his behavior too closely resembled the Thing from the Fantastic Four and upgraded his intelligence and vocabulary in order to set him apart.
      • And he does it with insults, too; "go suck eggs" becomes:
      • The X-Men Noir version of the Beast, while genuinely intelligent (but not to the exaggerated levels of the normal one), goes out of his way to use larger words that he doesn't quite understand because it gives him a stronger air of intelligence.
    • Forge does this a couple of times. One time, he goes into a lengthy plan involving geometry at a football game huddle, causing everyone to get confused.
    • The X-Men's Dr. Nemesis often does this, specifically as a means to insult or talk down to anyone he believes to be less intelligent than himself. That is to say, everyone. It gets hilariously played with when a telepathic starfish latches onto his face and begins broadcasting all of his inner thoughts:
      Nemesis: Eat viral liquefaction, unethically cloned carbon-waste! I'll put my science in you! I'll put my science in all of you!
      Starfish: (I have no idea what I'm saying.)
  • On the magic side of the MU coin, we have Doctor Strange. Granted, half the words he uses are made-up, but it's still fun trying to follow him through a convoluted explanation of his spellwork.
  • The Caged Demonwolf from Empowered, with lots of Added Alliterative Appeal. ("Like unto 80s action-cinema icon Michael Dudikoff, be you a fabled Ninja American, oh jingoistic jackanapes?"). He's doing it on purpose. His Imagine Spots are readily identified because it carries over to everyone's dialogue (even mid-ravishing).
  • The Bash Brothers from Sludge happen to be Genius Bruisers who tend to use words as big as their biceps. Considering that Burke is a lawyer and his brother Monroe is a doctor, this is more or less expected.
  • Daredevil: One of the Kingpin's lieutenants speaks like this in Born Again. Like the Sin City example above, this was also written by Frank Miller. It predates it by a number of years, but still.
  • In Major Bummer, one of the people affected by EEMs develops an extremely advanced brain (so advanced that his head balloons to gigantic size to hold it), but this has the side effect of making his already vast command of the English language utterly incomprehensible to all but the most astute of listeners, and even then only those armed with a dictionary.
  • Cerebus the Aardvark features a character known only as "The Judge", who may just be the walking incarnation of this trope. A seemingly omnipotent being, the judge never actually does anything with his limitless powers and knowledge because he is too busy making long, long, long expository speeches using very big words. How long? In his first appearance, he speaks uninterrupted for five. straight. issues.
    • Though to be fair, he is telling the history of the creation and eventual destruction of the world. These things take time.
    • In a later issue, The Judge appears out of thin air to inform Death that he is about to die. And also that he is actually not Death at all, just delusional. It takes him more words to tell him this than the entire word count of the previous two issues combined. Leading to a Crowning Moment of Funny when "Death's" only response to this verbal tsunami is to say "Well, fuck me," and die.
    • Parmoorians have a well-deserved reputation for long-windedness. "Cerebus usually passes the time counting adverbs."
  • French comic book Achille Talon could have practically defined this trope. The hero, a fat bourgeois, as well as most of his entourage, adds verbosity to pedantry and pretentiousness to gullibility in an incredible verbal creativeness.
  • Batman: This is a prominent gimmick of the Penguin in almost all of his incarnations.
  • In All Fall Down, AIQ Squared suffers from this. He can't help it, it's in his programming.
  • G.I. Joe: As part of an effort to appear more intelligent than he is, Cobra Commander can often be found using very advanced words, especially if Larry Hama happens to be writing the story. Perhaps the greatest use of this was in a Transformers vs. GI Joe comic wherein he called Zarana "steatopygous" (i.e., she has a big butt).
  • From Viz we have Raffles, Gentleman Thug (an obvious parody of Raffles) who speaks like a Victorian gentleman and acts like a modern delinquent.
  • Grimlock in Transformers: Shattered Glass started off as Dumb Muscle, but then got an upgrade that made him a Genius Bruiser, trading Hulk Speak for this. An example shortly after his upgrade:
  • In Superman & Batman: Generations, Lex Luthor says he managed to travel through time with a portal "generated when acetylsalicylic acid is irradiated at a 108 megahertz frequency"... in other words, he "irradiated" some aspirin tablets with an FM radio. Presumably this is a playful nod to Silver Age comics like this one.
  • In Dollicious Tiramisu tend to use very rare and pretentious sounding words just to stand out.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Frank and Ernest, Frank and Ernest join The American Civil War reenactors because they just like saying Sesquicentennial.
  • Both Calvin and Hobbes from Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes are known for having particularly verbose discussions with each other. This is occasionally mentioned, such as in the Tenth Anniversary Collection, in contrast with his usual failing grades at school.
    • He must obey the inscrutable exhortations of his soul.
    • He once wrote a book report entitled "The Dynamics of Interbeing and Monological Imperatives in Dick And Jane: A Study in Psychic Transrelational Gender Modes."
      Calvin: Academia, here I come!
    • What if someone calls us a pair of pathetic peripatetics?
    • Calvin likes to use this to insult the school bully in a way he knows Moe won't understand.
      Calvin: Your simian countenance suggests a heritage rich in species diversity.
    • Word of God also says he liked Calvin's ability to precisely articulate stupid ideas.
  • Invoked (as "pompousese") in this Pearls Before Swine strip.
  • Plato from Beetle Bailey has been known to use this, naturally enough since it's part of the stereotype he represents. On one occasion, he used it to gain access to a telephone meant only for official business by expressing his intentions so fancily the secretary didn't realise he was saying he was inviting his buddy over to the bar with the rest of them.
  • One FoxTrot strip had Jason making use of a dictionary and a thesaurus so he could tell his sister Paige "your corpulence is downright Brobdingnagian" without fear of reprisal.

    Fan Works 
  • Contraptionology!: Characters suffering from convolvement tend to become excessively verbose when discussing their projects and scientific genius. Applejack's version of this, such as her describing subatomic theory and the Clopper (Doppler) effect through a vocabulary consisting mainly of country aphorisms, is the source of a lot of the story's humor.
  • Twilight's List: Twilight Sparkle engages in this, causing Rainbow Dash to tune her out, and as a result miss out on the fact that Twilight is asking her out on a practice date, leading to Rainbow Dash believing that Twilight IS romantically interested in her.
  • The Parselmouth of Gryffindor: The minor character Hengist Rawkes always talks like this — or at least, his portrait does. "Ron Weasley has been manhandled by a humanoid specimen entitled Sirius Black!"
  • The Luck Of Dennis St Michel Viscount Stokington: Dennis does this a lot, even when decrying the same habit in his nemesis.
    "The ragged figure looming in the dusky storm-light bore little resemblance to the pompous young naif who delighted in using a type or kind of sesquipedalian loquaciousness to mock his foes. In truth, I had found his book-learning pretentious; I know a pretty word or two, but do not feel the need to flaunt them at every interval."
  • It's a good idea to keep a dictionary open in another tab while reading A Different Lesson. That said, the…uncommon words are used correctly, and in almost all cases are actually more of a precise fit than their everyday equivalents. In-story, this also applies to Chao's speech patterns because he's from an earlier time.
  • Gohan in Dragon Ball Z Abridged delves into this occasionally. Piccolo usually responds with "NEEEEEEEEEERD!!" (The irony here is that in the original, Piccolo was the one with a tendency towards pompous speech patterns.)
  • In one of Katieforsythe's Sherlock Holmes fanfictions Watson actually uses the word sesquipedalian to describe Holmes.
  • The Hungarian Matrix abridged series Vektor has a particularly beautiful example from Konrad Lorentz - AKA the Architect - delivered in Creepy Monotone. Neon's response is a Flat "What".
  • Octa in The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova talks like this a lot.
  • Zany To The Max:
  • The Cadanceverse: Twilight uses complex terms and words to describe her magical studies. When Trixie accuses her of doing it just to mess with her, Twilight starts doing exactly that.
  • CRISIS: Equestria: Starlight Shadow takes this trope and runs with it, much to the chagrin of the other cast members, especially Insipid.
  • Spock still does this in Insontis II even after being age-regressed. In the 12th chapter, he says, "Such error is understandable."
  • Whotrek The Ultimate Adventure 1 parodies this in the scene where the characters encounter the Architect, who not only uses grandiose words for absolutely everything but also manages to constantly use the wrong words, making his entire dialogue incomprehensible nonsense.
    "I created the Matrix. Ergo I can photosynthesis 90 percent of space-time to eradicate the miscreant particles of individuality. Ergo I am most definitely not the man you refer to as the Master therefore I will not anti this establishment and simultaneously the relevant pseudopods of your clavicle heliocentrism."
  • The eponymous Amber Night of Amber Night and the Curse of the Diabolical Pastry Thief has a dazzling lexicon. Among the first attributes described of Moodbeam is "grandiloquent". She and Amber indeed have some grandiloquent exchanges.
  • Hop to It portrays Max as this even when he's speaking a second language.
    Max: [asking Jack about the Femme Defamation attack] However did you ascertain you would be unaffected by her onslaught? [Beat] I hope I said that correctly in English.
    Kim: [in French] You and your big words!
    Max: Yes, well... a different language is no excuse to speak like a simpleton.
  • Played for laughs in I Must Be Going, an installment of Skyhold Academy Yearbook, in which Varric reads a Real-Person Fic he's penned. He uses smaragdine to describe one character's green eyes, and the students listening to the story object to the inclusion of such a ridiculous word. As one of them says, "I don't think that's a real word. Or if it is, it shouldn't be." (It is. It's used to describe something as being emerald green.)
  • SOSchip:
    • LonelyFox, who is German but is fluent in English (to a self-deprecating extent), types and talks like this — though of course, she talks like this to the extent that a German learning English can talk like this. When asked who she is in the very first chapter by oghond (who has never seen her face or heard her voice before), she responds thusly:
      LonelyFox: I would like to inquire what you mean by that. Surely you recognize me?
    • This is what eventually tips oghond off to LF's identity, as only LF talks using words like that. In Chapter 2 this tendency of hers is lampshaded by Dr. Vandertramp:
      LonelyFox: I have ventured here with my friend oghond, along with my other friends HP, hypedgirl, and Yuunari, via an ocean liner known as the S. S. Tex-Kofschip. We have all been mysteriously transformed into Pokémon. Even now I am still questioning how in the world we could have transformed so easily without causing a nuclear explosion large enough to destroy Farleigh-Dickinson University.
      Dr. Vandertramp: ...You're German, correct?
      LonelyFox: Indeed.
      Dr. Vandertramp: Wow. You certainly use some big words.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Zarekos does this to use Added Alliterative Appeal in his speak, using "begone", "brainless" and "buffoon", instead of words like "leave", "idiot" and "fool":
    "Begone, brainless buffoon,"
  • Anastasia Burns from The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H. often uses long and flowery words that no second-grader would ever use, let alone in casual conversation. It's a part of her antiquated way of speaking. Mrs. Gunderson lampshades Anastasia's verbosity in "The Heiress Diaries"; when discussing her good grades in English class, she says Anastasia's vocabulary is "too advanced" for her age. Anastasia proceeds to call Mrs. Gunderson an "ignoramus", thereby proving Mrs. Gunderson's point.
  • Little Hands, Big Attitude: Tails, being a Child Prodigy, is quite prone to this: in a test the teacher deducted points from him (from a perfect score) because none of his classmates could understand his vocabulary, and he also combines this trope with Technobabble when he plays Scramble.

    Films — Animation 
  • Basil in The Great Mouse Detective.
  • Mr. Ray from Finding Nemo: "Optical orbits up front. And remember, we keep our supraesophageal ganglion to ourselves. That means you, Jimmy."
    "Aw, man!"
  • Wordy villain Cat R. Waul in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West is often wont to spit out long lines of English loquaciousness, and is often forced to describe his intent in simpler terms. He's voiced by John Cleese. Coincidence?... No.
  • Ratatouille: Ego's ending narrative is incredibly hard to understand as a kid. Then again, he's a sophisticated critic.
  • In the Rankin Bass special 'Twas the Night Before Christmas:
    • The Mayor parodies this. Whenever he wants to sound important, he attempts this, then gives up partway through.
      Mayor: Of all the perfidious purveyors of chicanery I have ever had the misfortune to... oh, heck. Go home!
    • This is also the defining trait of the person(s) who wrote the letter to the editor that started the whole plot, and is what makes Father Mouse realize just who is responsible.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A simple one from Star Wars. The Rebel fighters are warned about the incoming TIEs.
    Del Goren: We've picked up a new group of signals: enemy fighters coming your way.
    Luke Skywalker: My scope's negative, I don't see anything.
    Garven Dreis: Pick up your visual scanning.
In other words: Look.
  • This quote from Con Air, which was spoken by Marshal agent Vince Larkin, an obvious poster boy for the trope, to DEA agent Malloy.
    Larkin: [Cindino's] known to be somewhat garrulous in the company of thieves.
    Malloy: Garrulous? What the fuck is garrulous?
    Larkin: That would be loquacious, verbose, effusive. How about "chatty"?
    Malloy: [to Devers] What's with Dictionary Boy?
    Larkin: "Thesaurus Boy", I think, is more appropriate.
  • Waldo of Our Gang (a.k.a. The Little Rascals).
  • A Running Gag in Pirates of the Caribbean, especially as one of Jack Sparrow's mannerisms.
    • Some of Sparrow's quotes:
      "I think we've all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically."
      "No. You want you to find this, because the finding of this finds you incapacitorially finding and or locating in your discovering the detecting of a way to save your dolly belle, ol' what's-her-face. Savvy?"
    • Captain Barbossa: "I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means 'No'."
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, the Architect's dialogue is extremely convoluted and highbrow-sounding, as if the writers deliberately mined a thesaurus for the longest synonyms they could find for every concept he's describing. Justified in that this artificial intelligence is, unlike any other AI, utterly logic/reason-based and lacking in any kind of empathy or social skills (the polar opposite of the Oracle) and uses speech as a type of Intimidation Demonstration. He does seem amused when Neo calls him on using it to avoid a direct question, saying his predecessors took longer to figure it out. Parodied so brilliantly by Will Ferrell in this video from the MTV Movie Awards.
    The Architect: ...ergo, concordantly, vis-a-vis... you know what? I have no idea what the hell I'm saying. I just thought it would make me sound cool.
  • The villain Hedy Lamarr (That's Hedley!) from Blazing Saddles.
    Lamarr: My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.
    Taggart: Goldarn it, Mr. Lamarr, you use your tongue prettier than a $20 whore.
  • One of the trademarks of Groucho Marx was fast deadpan Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
  • Johann Krauss from Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
    Krauss: You must shoot it in ze energy ganglion!
    Hellboy: The what?
    Krauss: Ze energy ganglion! Scheisse. Ze head! Shoot it in ze head!
  • Ulysses Everett McGill speaks almost entirely like this in O Brother, Where Art Thou?. We later learn that he was imprisoned for practicing law without a license. He apparently wants everyone to think that he's smarter than he is. Villain "Big Dan" Teague speaks similarly because he wants to trick people into believing that he's a classy, trustworthy gentleman.
  • V of V for Vendetta introduces himself like this, complete with oodles of alliteration. He calms down eventually but still speaks very intelligently. It's pretty epic, and implies that somebody pillaged a thesaurus a few times, specifically, the sections of a thesaurus between the letters "U" and "W".
    V: Voilà ! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.
    Evey Hammond: ... Are you, like, a crazy person?
  • Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Examples include "Viktor's more of a physical being. I mean, he's not particularly loquacious"; "Again obvious though potentially problematic". This isn't present in the other films (or the books), though.
  • In The Last Boy Scout, the two heroes are getting pummeled by an unusually verbose Mook's large companion, leading Bruce Willis's character to exclaim, "Shit, we're being beat up by the inventor of Scrabble!"
  • I, Robot. Dr. Calvin is very much like this in the beginning, though she sort of thaws out.
    Detective Del Spooner: So, Dr. Calvin, what exactly do you do around here?
    Susan Calvin: My general fields are advanced robotics and psychiatry. Although, I specialize in hardware-to-wetware interfaces in an effort to advance U.S.R.'s robotic anthropomorphization program.
    Detective Del Spooner: So, what exactly do you do around here?
    Susan Calvin: I make the robots seem more human.
    Detective Del Spooner: Now wasn't that easier to say?
    Susan Calvin: Not really. No.
  • In Jaws Brody snaps when Quint destroys the radio before they can call for help. Smashing the baseball bat on the destroyed radio he condemns Quint for being "certifiable" rather than calling him a more common term such as "crazy" or "insane."
  • In Necessary Roughness the coach is laid out with chest pains. He asks his doctor what he has:
    Doctor: Hiatal Hernia. [describes his symptoms here]
    Gennaro: Well, is it fatal?
    Doctor: Indigestion? Only in Mexico.
  • Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters.
    Pete Venkman: Hi, Egon. How's school? I bet those science chicks really dig that large cranium of yours, huh?
    Egon: I think they're more interested in my epididymis.
    Pete Venkman: ...
    Venkman: Ray has gone bye-bye, Egon. What have you got left?
    Egon: Sorry, Venkman... I'm terrified beyond the capacity of rational thought.
  • Doctor Emmett Brown from Back to the Future does this occasionally, though it seems to be limited to his past self from the '50s, implying Doc mellowed out at some point over the intervening 30 years. The Animated Series on the other hand, took this trait into overdrive (see "Western Animation" below).
    Doc: Look! There's a rhythmic ceremonial ritual coming up!
  • The sleazy, pseudo-intellectual wannabe Southern-Fried Genius crook played by Tom Hanks in The Coen Brothers version of The Ladykillers (2004).
  • The Coneheads' speech is a heavy mixture of this and Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp".
  • No Strings Attached (2011): Used quite a bit in the jokes of the doctors.
  • Muppet Classic Theater featured a particularly multiloquent gendarme in the included interpretation of "The Supreme Potentate's Neoteric Habiliments".
  • In Daddy Day Care, Charlie tries to avoid telling his obnoxious former coworker that he and Phil are now running a day care center, and instead says that they "offer management facilitation to, mostly, working professionals."
  • Bane from The Dark Knight Rises is very well-spoken. This is used to contrast from his frightening and brutish looking appearance, and also to highlight his high intelligence.
  • Adam (2009) when he gets onto the topic of astronomy.
  • Hail the Conquering Hero had this exchange:
    Doc Bissell: I said, "Ladies and gentlemen, in all the years that I have been unsuccessfully mixed into politics, this is the first and only time that I have ever seen a candidate for office - given an opportunity to prove publicly, permanently and beyond peradventure of doubt that he was honest, courageous and veracious..."
    Judge Dennis: That means truthful. He likes those big words.
  • Clerks had this:
    hockey playing dude: Okay, but you're living in denial and suppressing rage, motherfucker
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, when Dr. McCoy wants to get past some guards:
    McCoy: My God, man! Do you want an acute case on your hands? This woman has immediate postprandial, upper-abdominal distention! Now, out of the way! Get out of the way!
    Kirk: What did you say she has?
    McCoy: Cramps.
    • It's sillier than that— he's implying she's either gassy or has a touch of Balloon Belly from overindulging.
  • Drax of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) has a wide vocabulary and sometimes speaks in unnecessarily big words. In a bit of delicious Irony, the word "thesaurus" is apparently not part of this vocabulary, as he takes offense at being called a "walking thesaurus".
  • Mary has a tendency to lapse into this in All About Steve when she gets excited. As a dedicated cruciverbalist (a crossword puzzle writer), she has a very varied vocabulary that has a heavy emphasis on obscure vocabulary.
  • Lincoln: Rep. Fernando Wood, the main orator for the pro-slavery Democrats, gives loud and wordy speeches in a hammy manner, which his opponents sometimes mock.note 
    "When will Mr. Wood end his interminable gabble? Some of us breathe oxygen, and we find the fumes of his oratory a lethal challenge to our pulmonary capacities!"
  • Ringo does this a lot in A Hard Day's Night
    "There you go, hiding behind a smokescreen of bourgeois cliches..."
  • Both the Red Skull and Dr. Arnim Zola in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • In Robin and the 7 Hoods, the elderly and respectable Alan A. Dale speaks this way, contrasting with the casual speech of Robbo and his gang.
    Dale: Am I correct in my assumption that you gentlemen find my habiliments reprehensible?note 
    Little John: I think there's something wrong with his throat.
  • In Sin City — a film where everyone is constantly spewing (sometimes quite gorgeous) exposition monologues — Shlubb and Klump manage to stand head and shoulders above everyone else by also engaging in the trope.
    Klump: I can only express puzzlement, which borders on alarm.
    Shlubb: I only seek the most lighthearted and momentary digression. The briefest indulgence in automotive pleasure.
    Klump: For cheap thrills. Such short-lived durability, Mr. Shlubb. You risk engendering ill will on the part of our employers.

    Klump: And, if my current state of much-justified petulance permits me to press the point, you are likeways demonstrably bereft of a working understanding of the perimeters of our beforementioned mission at hand. Relevant to said mission is the following query I now put forth to you. Said query concerning matters strictly spatial in nature... Wherein this most streamlined and trunkless of transports, boner-inspiring though it may be, wherein are we to reposit our recently deceased cargo?
  • Tombstone Rashomon: Doc Holliday and Johnny Behan are better educated than most of the others invoved in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (or, as Doc would insist, 'on Fremont Street') and like to cultivate the impression of being gentlemen by using large words and speaking in a grandiloquent style. Cononel Hafford is also educated, but his vocal affection runs more to poetic turns of phrase rather than unnecessary verbiage.

  • In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Dodo uses such obscure and strange words that the Eaglet demands that he "speak English" and accuses him of not understanding half of the things coming out of his beak.
  • Walter "Ramses" Emerson in Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series tends to embody this trope through his younger years, though he (mostly) grows out of it by around age 20, as stated by Amelia in Guardian of the Horizon. Amelia herself could actually fit this trope in many regards, although it may be more her old-fashioned manner of narration than excessive verbosity.
  • American Gods: There's a heroic example with Mr. Ibis, which makes sense since he's Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom. The protagonist Shadow does this occasionally, in moments indicating that he's a Genius Bruiser and not just Dumb Muscle (i.e. referring to sleight-of-hand magic as prestidigitation).
  • The Arts of Dark and Light has Marcus, the son of protagonist Corvus and himself the main character in one of the subsidiary tales. Marcus is schooled as a theologian, and frequently makes use of this trope, as well as Spock Speak, having a tendency to launch into extraordinarily overelaborate and polysyllabic terminology whenever afforded the opportunity. To be fair, he is called out on this several times, and tries to talk more normally as a result.
  • David Eddings wasn't averse to showing off his eight years of studying English at college level on occasion though he mostly aimed for readability over verbosity. The Arend race in his The Belgariad series sometimes combined this with their signature Flowery Elizabethan English trope.
    Mandorallen: (bowing to the throne) Lord King, gladly do I greet thee and the members of thy court, and dare to call ye all kinsmen. I presume to bear thee warmest greetings from their Majesties, King Korodullin and Queen Mayaserana, monarchs of well-loved Arendia, for, doubtless, as soon as I return to Vo Mimbre and reveal that those who were once lost are now joyfully found again, their Majesties' eyes will fill to overflowing with tears of thanksgiving, and they shall embrace thee from afar, if needs be, as a brother, and, as great Chaldan gives me strength, shall I presently return to thy magnificent city with missives top-filled with their regard and affection which shall, methinks, presage a soon-to-be accomplished reunion (may I dare even hope, a reunification) of the dissevered branches of the holy blood of sacred Arendia.
    Zakath: (murmuring to Garion with some awe) He managed to say all that in one sentence?
    Garion: (murmuring back) Two, I think.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • Black Widowers: In "The Unabridged", the guest mentions that his aunt would never use a simple term if a longer, fancier-sounding one was available; believing that this made her sound educated. Naturally, this habit plays a vital role in the ultimate solution to the mystery.
    • "Rejection Slips": In "Learned", the first letter, the poem uses the monorhyme for all nine lines, and using terms like 'Kant's philosophy', 'orthodoxy', and 'eclectic cause', all to say "I'm sorry for not using your submission".
  • Judge Holden from Blood Meridian speaks in very precise English filled with archaic legal terms and sometimes excessively formal language (always referring to others as "principals," for instance). Sometimes he just knows exactly the words to say what he means, but just as often he's speaking to intimidate and confuse the mostly-illiterate louts in his gang.
    "It is not necessary," he said, "that the principals here be in possession of the facts concerning their case, for their acts will ultimately accommodate history with or without their understanding. But it is consistent with notions of right principle that these facts—to the extent that they can be readily made to do so—should find a repository in the witness of some third party. Sergeant Aguilar is just such a party and any slight to his office is but a secondary consideration when compared to divergences in that larger protocol exacted by the formal agenda of an absolute destiny. Words are things. The words he is in possession of he cannot be deprived of. Their authority transcends his ignorance of their meaning."Translation
  • In one of Anthony Burgess's short stories, Shakespeare and Ben Jonson are discussing the new King James version of the Bible. Jonson mentions that the initial choice for translator thought Genesis should begin with "In the initiality of the mundane entity the Omnicompetent fabricated the celestial and terrene quiddities."
  • In Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the narrator will use one of these words, and immediately give the more common word. Example: "...transmogrifications (this is a big word for 'changes')."
  • Confessions (Saint Augustine): The Manichees are condemned for using with their rapid-fire mixtures of strange syllables and Christian-sounding words to fool St. Augustine into thinking they speak philosophy and truth when they knew nothing.
  • Mr. Micawber from David Copperfield is generally regarded as the Trope Codifier. This may be Dickens, but even Micawber's fellow Victorians have trouble understanding what he's trying to say.
    "Under the impression," said Mr. Micawber, "that your peregrinations in this metropolis have not as yet been extensive, and that you might have some difficulty in penetrating the arcana of the Modern Babylon in the direction of the City Road,—in short," said Mr. Micawber, in another burst of confidence, "that you might lose yourself—I shall be happy to call this evening, and install you in the knowledge of the nearest way."
  • Despoilers of the Golden Empire uses tons of scientific language to establish itself as a work of Science Fiction. It's not.
  • Discworld: Ponder Stibbons often does this while trying to explain the underlying principles of magic to the other Wizards at Unseen University (at least the ones who don't work in the High Energy Magic building).
  • An overly-complex vocabulary was the major character trait of William Harper "Johnny" Littlejohn in the Doc Savage novels. Throughout the series, Johnny was always careful to use regular words around Doc Savage, mainly because Doc would have understood everything he was saying so it wouldn't have been any fun. The other members of the team also suspected that he often used his big words incorrectly, and didn't want Doc to catch him at it. His tendency to use big words also bit him in the ass once. He was captured by a group of criminals, whose sadistic leader had no patience with Johnny's vocabulary. Johnny was warned that if he used a single big word while answering questions, he'd get the beating of a lifetime. Sure enough, Johnny forgets and uses a big word...and an absolutely brutal beatdown ensues.
  • Doctor Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory is a stimulating compendium of destructive devices for all enthusiasts of the genre known as "steam-punk", plus those gentlemen of leisure who feel that their masculinity would be grossly enhanced by the acquisition of an Exterminator of Prodigious Dimensions.
  • Pretty much anything written by Stephen R. Donaldson tends to veer into this trope at times:
    • Notorious, one group of characters in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant were described as being "featureless and telic, like lambent gangrene."
    • In The One Tree, one character tells Thomas Covenant that he is uxorious; a claim that is meretricious. Indeed, the claim is quite mendacious (for one thing, the character is unmarried) — but what can one expect from a man who is wearing a carcanet? (Note: Donaldson uses all those words.)
    • Then there's Mordant's Need, a more "realistic" work than the Covenant series in almost every way... except the swearing. (When the local equivalent of a wizard snaps "Excrement of a pig!" he might just be pretentious, but when a couple of rough private soldiers express their frustration by yelling "Fornication!" it's deeply jarring.)
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Elephant's Child, the bi-colored python rock snake always talks like he's reading from a thesaurus, for that is how bi-colored python rock snakes always talk, O Best Beloved.
    Bi-coloured Python Rock Snake: Rash and inexperienced traveler, we will now seriously devote ourselves to a little high tension, because if we do not, it is my impression that yonder self-propelling man-of-war with the armor-plated upper deck (and by this, O Best Beloved, he meant the Crocodile) will permanently vitiate your future career.
  • Enchanted Forest Chronicles:
    • The nerdy magician Telemain always talks like this, with Morwen usually having to translate for him. However, when he is glared at hungrily by Kazul, a sentient dragon, he manages to speak normally, albeit very very slowly.
    • Also used in Dealing with Dragons of the same series, in regards to a book on the Caves of Fire and Night. At the end, Morwen says something about how the magic had worked, and Cimorene exclaims, "Just the way that impossible book says!" and Morwen responds, "Demontmorency? Yes, I suppose he is fairly impossible."
      "Thus these Caves of Fire and Night are, in some sense, indivisible, whereas the Caves of Chance are, by contrast, individual, though it is preposterous to claim that these descriptions are true of either group of caves in their entirety..."
  • The infamous The Eye of Argon uses absurdly obscure words whenever possible, sometimes whimsicorically making them up outright. It also uses even normal words incorrectly (grammatically AND semantically), when it manages to even spell them right. "Many-fauceted scarlet emerald" is a particularly... colorful... example. The extremely-thinly-veiled discussion of the hero's current hit points also comes to mind.
  • In Tamora Pierce's The Immortals series, Numair says he was encouraged by his father to speak with as many long words as possible, to prove that he actually went away to school.
  • Christopher Paolini apparently feels the need to use a thesaurus at all times with the Inheritance Cycle, sparking copious mixed opinions from readers. Some find his writing captivating and interesting, while others basically write it off as a load of crap. Either way, you can't argue that he follows this trope to the letter, and younger readers may want to keep a dictionary open while traversing his prose.
  • Howard Hibble of the Jason Wander series is the leading expert on the aliens' humanity is currently at war with, and occasionally lapses into this mode of speech. Lampshaded by Jason, who speaks normally but has good verbal skills, when discussing an alien device. Howard describes it as "a metallic, oblate spheroid." Jason translates this as "a tin football."
  • The dodo in David Osborn's children's novel Jessica and the Crocodile Knight uses confusing jargon whenever he can. When he and Jessica first meet, he describes her as "an immature homo sapiens of the female gender", instead of simply as "a human girl".
  • The Khaavren Romances (and the third part of Tiassa), set in Steven Brust's world of Dragaera, is written by Paarfi, who is especially prone to the prolix.
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle: This is apparently Elodin's Berserk Button. He's rumored to have started a bar fight with a man who wouldn't stop saying "utilize" instead of "use." Another version of the rumor is that the man wouldn't stop saying "moreover."
  • In The Laundry Files, Charles Stross would often pay tribute to Lovecraft by jokingly describing eldritch-related things as "squamous and rugose". Of course, as his works take the Viewers Are Geniuses route, his own characters occasionally dip into this trope as well.
  • H. P. Lovecraft is known for it.
    • From At the Mountains of Madness: "The leathery, undeteriorative, and almost indestructible quality was an inherent attribute of the thing's form of organization, and pertained to some paleogean cycle of invertebrate evolution utterly beyond our powers of speculation."
    • Would you believe he occasionally used this for deadpan snarking? From The Dunwich Horror: "But then, the homes and sheds of Dunwich's folk have never been remarkable for olfactory immaculateness."
  • Kruppe from the Malazan Book of the Fallen loves to talk in long-winded, complicated sentences stuffed full of words his immediate audience is likely to trip over. He also talks in the third person about himself. Several characters tend to zone out as soon as he opens his mouth. It is part of his Obfuscating Stupidity act, though.
  • Novelist Thomas Mann was, depending on your point of view, famed or notorious for his long and complex sentences. It was joked that for him and his admirers a German sentence less than a half-page long was no proper sentence. For instance, the first sentence of Mann's Confessions of Felix Krull consists of 72 words in the original German. However, when Mann gave a public reading it was very easy to keep track of what he was trying to get across. Leo Tolstoy was a big influence on Mann's work, and that is probably at least a partial explanation, since this trope shows up often in Tolstoy's works, too.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Mr. Croup appears practically incapable of pronouncing any bon mot of less than polysyllabic length, much to the bewilderment of Mr. Vandemar. At one point he describes himself and Mr. Vandemar as having "funny clothes and convoluted circumlocutions", to which Mr. Vandemar responds indignantly "I haven't got a circumlo—." Mr. Croup explains that the word means "a way of speaking around something. A digression. Verbosity."
  • George Orwell:
    • Orwell once took this one passage from the Bible:
      I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
    And rewrote it like this...
    Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.
    The entire thing can also be translated to mean "Success is random."
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: Uncle's description by Claire when he calls her over to discuss her princess's abilities:
    Claire: Yes, o inimitable maestro of the grand game of the imagination?
    Uncle: ... save it for the roleplay, kid.
  • Redwall's hares and more Wicked Cultured villains occasionally drop into this. "So what happens when the bally precipitation ceases?" (blank stares) "Sorry, I mean what happens when the rain stops?" And another time:
    "What does he mean by 'arboreal verdance'?"
    "Hmm, I rather think it means treetops, leafy green ones."
    "Oh! So why doesn't he say treetops?"
    "Why should he when he knows how to say words like arboreal verdance?"
  • Mr Plum, the slimy teacher from The Rotters Club. Heck, you need an encyclopaedia to work out what he's saying.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Meta-fictional example: books are only written in this type of prose. Actually one of the characters thinks it's less difficult to say "hum" when an unusual word shows up rather than looking it up, with surprisingly good results. Made even weirder by the fact Georgina always speaks in a normal manner.
  • In Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours, Doctor Strange uses the longest words possible, much to Spider-Man's annoyance.
    Strange: They are older than mountains, older than the seas. Since life first graced this sphere, and since that life called out to the mystic realms, echoing in harmony and sympathy, these beings, these Ancients, have been there to feed upon it.
    Spider-Man: Really, you could have just said "Yes, they're old", and it would have been enough.
  • The saintly mad prophet Emmanuel from Sister Pelagia really loves to use bookish words "in appropriate and inappropriate places".
  • In Stark's War, the worst of the officers Stark deals with speak in a sort of hybrid of abstract military theory and management jargon, dressing some very dumb ideas in very complicated language. Just so long as it sounds impressive, that means they're all military geniuses, right?
  • Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View has various characters speaking this way, but most notably Kabe, whose only line in the film is a squeaked order for drinks. If you can understand her, it turns out that she is incredibly verbose and grandiloquent, fittingly for a charismatic little thief and con artist.
    They have the gift for music, the Bith, which you should know in advance so that the contextual arena of the following anecdote makes sense once I reach its amusing conclusion.
  • Invoked in the first Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note novel The Missing Bike Knows. When Aya introduces herself in front of the boys of the Special Class (and takes a swipe at Wakatake), she decides to show off her strength in the Japanese language that the teacher told the whole class about moments earlier. She does it by dropping yojijukugo, four-kanji idioms of Chinese origin, that accurately describe the four boys. These idioms were cut in the anime adaptation, leaving viewers scratching their heads as to why Kuroki immediately gave her the Red Baron of "the language expert."
    Aya: I'm Aya Tachibana. Reiseichinchakunote  Uesugi-kun, onkoutokujitsunote  Kozuka-kun, happoubijinnote  Kuroki-kun, and goganfusonnote  Wakatake-kun, who can't even tell the difference between a human and a mailbox... It's nice to meet you all.
  • In Tarzan of the Apes, Professor Porter considers that using the term "lion" rather than "quadruped of the genus FELIS" to be slang. Eventually his secretary Mr. Philander complains about his overly fussy attitude, and the professor replies "Look here, Skinny Philander, if you are lookin' for a scrap, peel off your coat and come on down on the ground, and I'll punch your head just as I did sixty years ago in the alley back of Porky Evans' barn." Philander is relieved that his old friend is still there under all the pomp.
  • Jupiter Jones, of The Three Investigators, employs this method of verbal communication habitually, although not necessarily invariably.
  • Mark Twain accused Germans (at least, German writers) to always choose the longest word possible, and cites words like "Freundschaftsbezeigungen" and a sentence with over seventy words as proof. The sentence was taken from a Silly Love Novel. Now wonder how much more complicated philosophical and scientific works from the 19th century must be.
  • Both Stephenie Meyer and her characters in The Twilight Saga love this trope. The books are filled to the brim with overly-complicated words when simpler words would work better, and she even uses some words wrongly.
  • This trait is quite common among Jack Vance characters, generally as a sugar-coating on their jerkass behavior. Note that V, the former page image, is a character from a webcomic inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, a series which itself was inspired by Vance's writings.
  • Jerry, a character in Voices From The High School, decides to imitate the language of Shakespeare, much to his friend's chagrin.
  • P. G. Wodehouse's uber-valet Jeeves always uses very precise and formal language. Sometimes his employer/Heterosexual Life-Partner Bertie Wooster has to offer up translations for baffled listeners.
  • In the Young Wizards series, the wizardry manuals are given to insanely complicated language; it's mind-boggling how an eleven-year-old girl can even hope to understand it. "Temporospatial claudication" indeed! Not unjustified, as these are English translations from a language which was designed from the ground up to describe the (actual, speculative, and alternative) workings of The Multiverse... or more accurately, reality reflects the language. In the first book, the girl spends around a week of study trying to understand the Speech well enough to even cast a simple spell. I'd imagine a year or two spent seriously studying what's basically a truly comprehensive and utterly accurate multidisciplinary textbook whose contents constantly reorganize to be exactly what its owner is currently most suited to learn... could produce mind-boggling results, indeed.
  • Whateley Universe: Phase is known for this, and has even used it deliberately to confuse or delay his opponents.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Harry Morton on The Burns and Allen Show, almost always lampshaded by George Burns.
  • Walter Denton on Our Miss Brooks, making him seem smarter than he really is.
  • Speech like this is the key joke in many Monty Python's Flying Circus sketches.
    • John Cleese is known to use this in other roles he has held since.
      "Frankly, I'm against people who give vent to their loquacity by extraneous bombastic circumlocution."
    • In the "Cheese Shop" sketch, the customer is an insufferable intellectual who initially uses the most impenetrable string of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness to order some cheese that the shop keeper has no idea what he's saying. The customer then translates his statements into an insultingly broad Yorkshire dialect to make himself understood. This is probably why the shopkeeper spends the rest of the sketch deliberately wasting his time.
  • Fawlty Towers:
    • In the episode "The Hotel Inspectors", Basil finds himself having to contend with a guest whose use of flowery, overcomplicated language renders him nearly incomprehensible. Representative quote:
      Mr Hutchinson: This afternoon I have to visit the town for sundry purposes which would be of no interest to you I am quite sure, but nevertheless shall require your aid in getting for me some sort of transport, some hired vehicle that is, to get me to my first port of call.
      Basil: Are you all right?
    • In "Communication Problems", Polly gets rid of the pushy, selectively deaf Mrs. Richards by asking Manuel to "lend her your assistance in connection with her reservation", knowing that Manuel won't understand.
  • Ezra from The Magnificent Seven series, frequently punctuates his conversations with unnecessarily extensive and articulate vocabulary.
    Ezra: [In jail] Well now that we are rid of that loathsome curmudgeon, you may effect my emancipation.
    JD: Huh?
    Ezra: Let me out.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Sixth Doctor took this to ridiculous lengths — and in Pip and Jane Baker scripts, most other characters would start talking like this as well.
      The Doctor: Fortuitous would be a more apposite epithet!
      Peri: Or, as we humans say, "Lucky would be a better word."
    • Pip and Jane Baker were really fond of the phrase "fortuitous would be a more apposite epithet". The Master uses it in "The Mark of the Rani" as well. Of course, the Master as played by Anthony Ainley was always prone to thesaurus abuse.
    • The Sixth Doctor's talent for sounding like he swallowed a thesaurus and a full meal of cured pork haunch shows up a lot in the Big Finish audio dramas.
      Banto Zane: Talking with you is like arguing with a thesaurus!

      Banto Zane: Here we go, another voyage around the English language!
    • Couple the Sixth Doctor's vocabulary with Gilbert and Sullivan's music and the results are downright hilarious, as evidenced in Part 3 of the Big Finish audio drama Doctor Who and the Pirates. Can anyone say "I am the Very Model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer"?
    • Early Eighties companion Adric does this a couple of times in "Four to Doomsday". Early in the story, he refers to the Milky Way galaxy as "Galaxia Kyklos"; Tegan thinks he's talking about somewhere in Corfu until the Doctor tells her that "Adric's just showing off". Later, while sharing a meal with the Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa, Adric asks if anyone will "pass the sodium chloride", by which he means salt.
    • The Twelfth Doctor slipped into this in the Series 10 episode Smile:
    The Doctor: I re-initialised the entire command structure, retaining all programmed abilities but deleting the supplementary preference architecture.
    Bill: He turned it off and on again.
  • This was part of the appeal (and Narm fuel) of Dawson's Creek. One ad for the show pretty much came right out and said this: "They're teenagers but they don't talk like teenagers. Watch Dawson's Creek at [time] on [day]."
  • River Tam from Firefly occasionally slipped into this, with a mix of Infallible Babble and a banquet's worth of Word Salad.
  • Sir Humphrey Appleby in Yes, Minister / Yes Prime Minister speaks in an overly long and complex fashion in order to flummox his political masters and thus maintain the Civil Service status quo — however, he's so used to speaking in such a fashion that at times he appears almost incapable of speaking clearly even when he genuinely wants to make himself clearly understood. At very least, he's reluctant to do so to an almost instinctive degree; a short answer could generally be dragged out of him and usually formed the punchline to a joke. For instance, here's how Humphrey confesses his sins:
    Sir Humphrey Appleby: The identity of the official whose alleged responsibility for this hypothetical oversight has been the subject of recent discussion is not shrouded in quite such impenetrable obscurity as certain previous disclosures may have led you to assume, but, not to put too fine a point on it, the individual in question is, it may surprise you to learn, one whom your present interlocutor is in the habit of defining by means of the perpendicular pronoun.
    James Hacker: I beg your pardon?
    Sir Humphrey Appleby: It was... I.
  • Stewart Pearson in The Thick of It is a political media strategist, who seems to have absolutely no communication skills, and whose speech consists entirely of buzzwords and nonsense. In the penultimate episode, it's revealed that he isn't doing this on purpose, he really thinks he's speaking in plain English, and using simple words and clear phrases requires real physical effort on his part.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • The group have a conversation about Robin's new Argentinean boyfriend who can't speak English that well. When he arrives at the bar, they continue the conversation, but with longer words so he doesn't understand (he doesn't: he thinks they're talking about baseball). Funny, because their responses weren't all that different from before:
      Barney: Come on Ted, back me up here.
      Ted: I'm just happy Robin's happy.
      Barney: Support my hypothesis, Ted.
      Ted: I'm just jubilant my former paramour's jubilant.
    • The part of the conversation right before this, that is Robin explaining that she still likes Gael, includes the lines:
      Barney: Within a triad of solar periods, you'll recognize your dearth of compatibility with your paramour and conclude your association.
      Robin: My journey was transformative and I reassert my commitment to both the aforementioned paramour and the philosophies he espouses.
    • Ted talks like this all the time, especially during the college flashbacks, because he is — in the other characters' own words — douchy like that. And his on-again/off-again high school/college girlfriend, Karen, talks like this all the time too.
    • Also in "Old King Clancy" while talking about GNB's firing room, the ETR, or Employee Transition Room:
      Barney: It's a space where a supervisor and an employee engage in a knowledge transfer about an impending vocational paradigm shift.
      Barney: So how'd it all go down between you and Bilson?
      Ted: Well, after he proposed a vocational paradigm shift, I made an impromptu presentation using a four-pronged approach that really brought him to his knees.
      Barney: Hit him with a chair?
      Ted: Yup.
      Barney: That's my boy!
  • iCarly: Kyle, the boy Carly dates in "iQ", is an extreme offender of this trope.
  • Kim's Convenience: Mr. and Mrs. Kim (who are Korean-Canadian immigrants) start taking English classes in one episode and show off all the fancy vocabulary they've learned to their daughter Janet. Played for Laughs and downplayed as majority of the words are only super fancy for their standards:
    Mr. Kim: Delightful afternoon, Janet.
    Mrs. Kim: Oh, you look exceptionally jaunty today.
    Janet: What's going on?
    Mrs. Kim: Yeah, we just decide to ameliorate our vocabulary.
    Mr. Kim: You probably flabbergast right now.
    Mrs. Kim: Yah! Because you speak only one language. But we master two.
    Mr. Kim: Yah. Keep up, Janet.
    Mrs. Kim: Oh! I know good word for you, Janet. Ah, "unilingual".
    Mr. Kim: Or, in Korean...?
    (Beat moment as Mr. and Mrs. Kim realize neither of them actually remember what the Korean equivalent is, and cue credits roll)
  • Power Rangers:
    • Billy on the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers spoke like this; every time he said anything, everyone looked expectantly at Trini until she translated. However, when the situation became truly dire, he sometimes lapsed into regular speech; whether this meant he used big words to show off intelligence or the show had bad writers was never explained. This tended to get phased out as the seasons went on as if his hanging out with the other teens helped him pick up their speech habits (or possibly because Trini had left). Ironically, most people watching the show on TV could understand him fine, or at least guess the intent of his statements by context. It's only in-universe that everybody but Trini is left utterly confused. The best example of this is "Life's A Masquerade" when he gives the Morphing Call for the first time. Instead of the standard "It's Morphin' Time" Billy-Speak turns it into "It's time for Molecular Transmutation." However, by Season 3, he called out a standard "It's Morphin' Time".
    • Power Rangers RPM's'' Dr. K does this on occasion (i.e. when she's not being blunt), including to hilarious effect in "Ghosts" when she threatens her leader, Colonel Truman, with inserting laxative into his coffee mug, which would lead to a case of explosive diarrhea.
    • In Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Monster of the Week Boxing Bop-a-roo had such a bad case of this that Lothor indirectly accused him of making up Perfectly Cromulent Words by starting a "Made-Up Word Jar". On top of that, many other characters suffered from the fact that he Got Me Doing It.
  • Star Trek:
  • Lampshaded in Friends when Joey uses a thesaurus on every single word of a letter he's writing in an attempt to sound intelligent.
    Monica: All right, what was this sentence, originally?
    Joey: Oh. "They're warm, nice people with big hearts."
    Chandler: And that became, "They're humid, pre-possessing homo sapiens with full-sized aortic pumps?"
  • In the episode "Ink and Incapability" of Blackadder the Third, Dr. Samuel Johnson, author of the first English dictionary, speaks just like that ("I celebrated last night the encyclopedic implementation of my pre-meditated orchestration of demotic Anglo-Saxon."). Blackadder resorted to using made-up long words to freak Johnson out in retaliation ("Oh, I'm sorry, sir. I'm anaspeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation.").
  • The "genius" types on Bones, including the character nicknamed "Bones", do this often. Justified, in that those who do so outside of the professional circumstances in which it's expected to show other signs of Asperger's as well, particularly Dr. Zack Addy.
    • Brennan once agreed with someone by saying, "I concur. Vehemently!"
    • And then there's this exchange from "The Titan on the Tracks":
      Dr. Hodgins: It's seventy percent amorphous silicon dioxide.
      Booth: What's that?
      Dr. Hodgins: It's a common domestic container.
      Booth: Oh, like a jar. Why can't we just say "a jar"?
    • Dr. Gordon Wyatt does this too, possibly because he's played by Stephen Fry
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Major Dr. Samantha Carter and, to a lesser degree, Dr. Daniel Jackson were often guilty of this.
    • Also Teal'c:
      Teal'c: I would prefer not to consume bovine lactose at any temperature.
      Teal'c: Undomesticated equines could not remove me.note 
  • Gibbs gets annoyed just about every single time it happens on NCIS. Ducky justified one instance by saying he likes the word "exsanguinate".
  • Used frequently on A Bit of Fry and Laurie. This sketch is a good example, as its use of gratuitous linguistics turns what would otherwise have been an unremarkable barber shop sketch into several minutes of hysterical laughter.
  • Lampshaded in The West Wing by the President, who says:
    "In my house, anyone who uses one word when they could have used ten just isn't trying hard."
  • Judge Joe Brown often uses this trope, apparently in an attempt to try to add some class to his "folksy" image (and possibly to intimidate the clueless people who come on his show), but instead, he usually ends up coming across as pompous.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon talks like this all the time. Any of the four main geeks do this often, mostly between themselves or colleagues when discussing theories or projects, but are quick to drop it around Penny as to include her... well, except for Sheldon, but he expects people to accommodate him in any situation, and will complain about having to do so for others. Sheldon even talks like this when he's speaking to Penny about simple everyday things; he usually ends up having to put things in Layman's Terms for her and never seems to realize that he should have just done so in the first place.
    Sheldon: (after Penny tells him she slipped in the shower) Not surprising. You have no safety mat or adhesive stickers to allow for purchase on a surface with a low coefficient of static friction.
    Penny: What?
    Sheldon: Tubs are slippery.
  • Russell Brand would also use this trope frequently. Made all the more visible by that he'd only really be doing it to make a Nob Gag. On a show about Big Brother.
  • Rhonda from the Direct to Video special Psalty's Salvation Celebration is like this in her first scene, sounding like she stuck her dialogue into an internet thesaurus translator. Thankfully, this is toned down in all her following scenes.
    "We'll be villaging with our father over the summer respite."
  • Deadwood:
    • E.B. Farnum, an oily Smug Snake with a Small Name, Big Ego, is very prone to waxing overly poetic in an attempt to pass himself off as better than he is. He has an annoying habit of repeating Swearangen's statements back to him with slightly more complex language, causing him to get reprimanded.
    • A.W. Merrick, the local newspaper man, is one of the few people in town with a classical education, so he's prone to overly academic language in the frontier boom town. In one notable scene, he writes an announcement that the smallpox vaccine as "gratis." Swearengen insists on clearer language: "Free gratis." When Merrick points out that this is a redundancy, Swearengen snarls, "Then take out the gratis!"
  • In one episode of My Family, Abi applies for a job in a library and memorises an entire dictionary to help her prepare for the interview. She doesn't get the job because the interviewer doesn't understand a word she's trying to say.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: Rob Petrie tried to explain his brother's symptomatic somnambulance to Sally. She stared at him and said to Buddy, "Could you tell him not to talk to me like that?"
  • Married... with Children: Kelly Bundy manages to bust out some big words for such a "bombastic simpleton". She doesn't always use the right words, but sometimes she's spot-on.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century used this trope at times, especially in the earlier episodes. Often lampshaded by having Buck be increasingly irritated at having to stop and figure out the "simplistic" 20th-century equivalent for whatever the other characters are talking about.
    Guard: You'll need a delocking disk.
    Buck: A "delocking disk"... [blank look for a moment] Oh, you mean a key. [takes the disc from the guard, grumbling under his breath] Why do you people in the future have to make everything so complicated?
  • In the Just Cause episode "The Last to Know": Note that Ted rollerblades everywhere. Even indoors. When Peggy tells Ted that her car was towed, he replies:
    Ted: Well, just another reason why I recommend bipedal modes of transportation.
  • Corner Gas:
    • Wanda is prone to this.
      Lacey: Maybe people get put off by your big words...
      Wanda: You mean intimidated by my vocabulary?
    • See also her chant when she goes on strike in "Get the F Off My Lawn":
      Wanda: Restitution! Remuneration! I demand indemnification!
      Brent: Wow, you do a lot of crosswords, huh?
  • Pops up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer from time to time, with requests for a translation from 'Giles-speak'. Fred gets into it as well on occasion on Angel.
  • More than half of Dr. Spencer Reid's lines on Criminal Minds are this. Jason Gideon was prone to this as well, as well as a few UnSubs, most notably Vincent Shyer ("Broken Mirror") and Frank Breitkof ("No Way Out"/"No Way Out II: The Evilution of Frank").
  • Sturgis Turner from JAG often gets into this trope.
  • Gaston Means from Boardwalk Empire. Just for example, instead of "your shoelace is untied", he says "Your left shoelace is in a state of dishabille." The show has several other examples: Arnold Rothstein, Nelson Van Alden, Andrew Mellon, and Valentin Narcisse, but none of them are as bad as Means.
  • Walter White of Breaking Bad occasionally lapses into this, though thankfully he's pretty good at keeping a lid on it.
  • In one episode of Rizzoli & Isles, Jane lampshades/objects to this, when she and Maura are having lunch at a fancy restaurant while investigating a case.
    Maura: What are you having for lunch?
    Jane: [looking at the menu] What are "baby jewels and gems"?
    Maura: Lettuce.
    Jane: Wh— We don't call those "solid vertical room separators"!
    Maura: You mean the walls?
    Jane: Exactly. Lett-uce. Pre-ten-tious.
  • Frasier:
    • A lot of humor comes from Niles and especially Frasier speaking very formally:
      Frasier: What is my offense? What egregious sin have I committed, that I should be so maligned? Was I to just sit idly by and watch these two misguided souls embark on doomed relationships? Would they have thanked me for that? Not very likely, I dare say.
      Martin: Who moved the mustard?
    • Daphne's boorish brother Simon can be pretty flowery as well, either naturally or possibly in a Stealth Parody of Frasier. Normally such a character would have Delusions of Eloquence, but he's perfectly capable of the real thing.
  • One of the many ways Grim mangles the English language on The Thin Blue Line.
  • Van Kooten En De Bie: The duo's comedy was very verbal and they enjoyed playing characters who used very complicated words and expressions. As presenters, they also used formal language.
  • Fitz and Simmons on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have a tendency to speak this way.
    Simmons: Saying his name repeatedly does not increase productivity!
  • Hill Street Blues: At roll call, Sgt. Esterhaus sounds more like an academic orator than a police sergeant, never letting one simple word suffice when he can demonstrate the extent of his vocabulary by using four obscure, polysyllabic ones, preferably of Latin or French origin, instead.
  • Eureka:
    • Pretty much every scientist speak this way. Justified since Carter is the only person in town who can't understand this, and given the problems involve complex science they likely feel that a detailed explanation would be necessary. Henry usually serves as translator.
      Scientist: It is an incredibly dangerous confluence of meteorological events.
      Henry: A perfect storm.
      Carter: Thank you.
      Scientist: A spinning cyclone of instability high up in the cryosphere.
      Henry: Ice funnel of death.
      Carter: Gotcha. Why don't you just say "Ice funnel of death?"
    • A lot of them were also just arrogant. When someone interrupts your lunch there is no reason a normal person would respond, "Can't a man masticate in peace?"
  • Boyd Crowder in Justified is very fond of this trope, often using it to prove to others that just because he's from a backwoods Kentucky town, he's not stupid.
  • Gus from Drop the Dead Donkey talks exclusively in management jargon; when a builder talks to him in plain speak about work to be done, he has to translate into SL just so Gus can understand him.
    Workman: The hoist's up and ready.
    Gus: Sorry?
    Workman: We have an ongoing potential uplift scenario.
    Gus: Ah, got you!
  • The Night Of: One of the young arresting officers writes her report in overly technical language, in an apparent attempt to sound official. Veteran Detective Box tells her to rewrite it in simple language so that a jury can understand it.
  • In The Westerner, Lovable Rogue Burgundy Smith will never use a plain word is a three syllable synonym is available. A Running Gag is that he then has to dumb his commentary down so his audience can understand him.
  • Gotham:
    • Oswald Cobblepot, Edward Nygma and Jeremiah Valeska all have moments of this, and sometimes get annoyed at their minions for not quite understanding them.
      Jeremiah: I told you I had to let Selina thrust the knife into my flesh at least once. Verisimilitude trumps precaution, you see.
      Ecco: ...I get it. Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne needed to think you were dead, Boss.
      Jeremiah: [cue annoyed expression]
    • And:
      Edward Nygma/Riddler: I would sooner debate you all on teleology versus deontology than leave her with that overgrown boy scout.
      Woman: Teo—wha?
      Riddler: Exactly.
  • Schitt's Creek: Moira Rose, full stop. Why lunch when you can repast? Or have a chat when you can confabulate? It's part of what makes her Large Ham persona so much fun.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Crazy as a Soup Sandwich", the mob boss Nino Lancaster is extremely verbose, using several multisyllable words in every sentence. This is lampshaded when he refers to his "complex syntax."
  • Project Runway: Designers occasionally note that the erudite Tim Gunn has quite an extensive vocabulary, and he occasionally uses a term they don't know. One episode features a super-cut of Gunn using various ten-dollar words throughout the filming of the season, such as asking the irritated group, "Why is there so much consternation and sturm und drang?"
  • The Brittas Empire: Brittas slips into this when explaining the reviews during "Reviewing the Situation":
    Mr. Brittas: The basic notion Carole, is that each one of us undertakes and delivers a free and frank appraisal of a colleague's performance. This assessment will ascertain the optimum attainment levels of that colleague in pursuance of his or her operational duty.
    Tim: I think he means how well we're doing in our jobs.
    Mr. Brittas: That's one way of putting it Tim, yes.
  • Succession: A running gag in the third season has Greg's academic uncle frequently using arcane adjectives such as "histrionic" and "intransigent." The dim-witted Greg just stares blankly at him and pretends to understand.


  • A song regarding the fear of long words by Bryant Oden: The Long Word Song
  • Emplaced here is a somewhat superfluous version of the especially popular lyrical work "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". The original rendering of this work was specifically composed for an infantile audience. The following version is for those amongst us who find the urge to utilize the aforementioned trope irresistible, even while making an attempt to lull a young insomniac into a recuperative state.
    Scintillate, scintillate globule aurific:
    Fain would I fathom thy nature specific
    Loftily poised in the ether capacious
    strongly resembling a gem carbonaceous
    Scintillate, scintillate globule aurific
    Fain would I fathom thy nature specific.
  • Similarly, Three Blind Mice:
    A triune entity of myopic rodentia
    A triune entity of myopic rodentia
    Observe how they perambulate
    Observe how they perambulate
    They circumnavigated the agriculturalist's spouse,
    Who excised their posterior extremities with a carving utensil
    Have you witnessed such an occurrence in your existence
    As a triune entity of myopic rodentia?
  • In the Fats Waller song "Your Feet's Too Big", Waller liberally uses long, erudite words during the song, such as "Your pedal extremities really are obnoxious."
  • Isaac Hayes' "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" ("My gastronomical stupensity is really satisfied when you're loving me...")
  • Michael Nesmith's post-Monkees solo work is notorious for this, though his most verbose song, "Wax Minute" ("minute" as in small) was actually written by someone else.
  • Bad Religion, a punk band, seems to be quite fond of this. Here is just one example out of many. There is also a fan-made lexicon, for use in all of your pedantic endeavors into abstruse grandiloquence. An immense plethora of the sesquipedalian tendencies of the lyrics can ostensibly be attributed to vocalist Greg Graffin, the band's resident "Master of Science." Being an English teacher also probably helps.
  • A lot of the super lyrical rappers in Hip-Hop fall into this trope.
    • Rakim
    • Nas
    • Canibus: who admitted to reading a thesaurus.
    • Most Wu-Tang Clan members like Method Man, GZA (they call him "the genius" for a reason), The RZA, and Inspector Deck.
    • Eminem to some degree has this as well, as his style is actually very eloquent and verbose at times, despite whatever the topic may be.
    • Kendrick Lamar
    • Kanye West is slowly veering into this as of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
    • If we're on the subject of rappers, Busdriver, just listen to any song of his from "Roadkillovercoat" onward
    • Aesop Rock is perhaps the king of this trope in regards to hip hop. A data science study showed that he has the largest vocabulary out of the sample of 85 hip hop artists. The study used the first 35,000 words of each artist, along with the first 35,000 words of Moby-Dick and works of William Shakespeare, and analyzed the unique words used. Aesop came out on top with a whopping 7,392 unique words, even beating Moby-Dick (6,022 unique words) and Shakespeare's works (5,170 unique words). He, GZA (6,426 unique words in only his solo albums), and Kool Keith (6,238 unique words) were the only three artists to top Moby-Dick.
  • In Tom Lehrer's song "Lobachevsky", on Songs by Tom Lehrer, the narrator (supposedly a protegé of the title character) mentions his first original paper, which had the easy-to-remember title of Analytical Algebraic Topology of a Locally Euclidean Metricization of an Infinitely Differentiable Riemannian Manifold. Most listeners would assume Lehrer was playing this trope straight — but anyone familiar with the historical Lobachevsky and his work in geometry would realize that this was actually a perfectly reasonable title for a paper in his field of math. Heck, half of Tom Lehrer's works are quite verbose.
  • Tim Minchin. It doesn't matter if he's currently singing about "the motherfucking pope", he'll still squeeze in some very eloquent words.
  • Blue Stahli. And HOW!
  • Joanna Newsom often plays this straight, because a lot of her songs are fairy tales. They also tend to be long and filled with gorgeous imagery and metaphor. Example:
    "Now her coat drags through the water / Bagging, with a life's worth of hunger, limitless minnows / In the magnetic embrace / Balletic and glacial of Bear's insatiable shadow"
  • The Decemberists.
    • Give Red Right Ankle a listen. "Oh, adhere to me / for we are bound by symmetry."
    • And that's one of their tamer songs. Try The Island/Come and See/The Landlord's Daughter/You'll Not Feel the Drowning. Twelve minutes of nonstop Shakespearean-inspired prose:
      There's an island hidden in the sound
      Lapping currents lay your boat aground
      Affix your barb and bayonet
      The curlews carve their arabesques
      And sorrow fills the silence all around
      Come and see
  • Simon Bookish, from his stage name on up, is a perfect example of this. Just listen to his song Carbon.
  • Former Disney Channel star Emily Osment, a well-educated teenager born to a family of teachers, is very good at throwing in (by teen-pop standards) long words and verbosity in her music, jokingly calling them "SAT words" in interviews. It was a point of pride that a song on her album Fight Or Flight, "Gotta Believe In Something", used the word "miscreant" in it.
  • SlipKnot may not be the most sophisticated band in terms of music and subject matter, but that doesn't prevent Corey Taylor from inserting esoteric euphemisms and terminology into otherwise profane and virulently anguished lyrical output. It also provides a stark contrast to their designated contemporaries KoRn, whose lead vocalist Johnathan Davis seldom uses words containing more than two syllables.
  • Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, in spite of being a high school dropout, and contrary to his madcap persona onstage, is one of the more intelligent and verbose figures in rock music. This is reflected in both Anderson's lyrics and in interviews he's done; he admits to being very careful to give a well-spoken, well thought-out answer to the questions he's given. He's also prone to good Deadpan Snarking and Self-Deprecation.
  • From Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It"
    "Oh you're so condescending
    Your gall is neverending
    We don't want nothing, not a thing from you
    Your life is trite and jaded
    Boring and confiscated
    If that's your best, your best won't do"
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Mission Statement" is packed with business buzzwords.
  • They Might Be Giants: "I Love You For Psychological Reasons" uses long words to describe an awkward fellow's struggles with a budding crush.
    I'm ashamed to admit I'm afraid of assuming the blame
    For my lame abnegation of braveness and fame
    Brain in a jar in a car in reverse I'm rehearsing
    The way I'll replay how to say how to be where you are

    Flammable undiagrammable sentiments
    Pass between animal beings
    Hard to explain but it's plain that
    I love you for psychological reasons
  • Peter Gabriel's "Big Time" has a verse making fun of this:
    They think so small
    They use small words
    But not me
    I'm smarter than that
    I worked it out
    I've been stretching my mouth
    To let those big words come right out
  • Sometimes, a good part of the humor in Les Luthiers is when they begin to do this.
  • Many songs by At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta veer into this territory - in particular, the groups' frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala tends to use a larger-than-average amount of medical and scientific terms, which is not helped by the occasional bizarre portmanteaus.
  • Children's singer-songwriter Tom Chapin wrote a song called "Great Big Words", which even uses the word "sesquipedalian".
  • Poet and spoken word musician Gil Scott-Heron was not impressed with artists using this trope. On "Message to the Messengers", he mused that "Four-letter words or four-syllable words won't make you a poet/It will only magnify how shallow you are and let everybody know it"


    Pro Wrestling 
  • Promos are a good way for a wrestler to build his/her character, explain their motivations, etc. Some will occasionally slip into this. Wild Red Berry made reading dictionaries his hobby, and would take out ads in newspapers in order to insult fans and his opponents with his extensive vocabulary.
  • And then you have John Morrison, who when not being scripted by someone else always talks like this, seemingly rambling on and segueing from topic to topic without any real connection to the original topic whatsoever. Which is made to be even more ridiculous when compared to his (former) tag team partner, "The Miz", who speaks in a very basic fashion (who used the Marine rallying cry "OOO-RAH!" as a period)note . Morrison is a blatant Captain Ersatz of Jim Morrison who tended to talk like this in interviews.
  • The Ultimate Warrior was also famous for this, interspersing feral snarling, grunting, and shouting with long, rambling promos peppered with million-dollar words used almost-correctly. In his later years, he even started throwing in words he made up out of whole cloth, apparently believing his character motivations to be too complex to explain in the English language as it stands.
  • Bob Backlund's mid-'90s comeback heel run was characterized by his speaking with words from the unabridged dictionary; notably, calling the fans "plebeians".
  • In 2009, it is Chris Jericho who is noted for using an SAT vocabulary, usually as an insult towards the fans WWE Universe, calling them gelatinous tapeworms, germ incubators, hypocrites, pharisees, among other not so nice things.
  • Brian Pillman used to engage in a bit of this. For example, on the October 30, 1995 WCW Monday Nitro, in the promo where Chris Benoit was drafted into the Horsemen, Pillman ranted about how Sting "regaled [his] obsequious lapdogs with [his] reprehensible act."note 
  • Humorously played with in a MADtv (1995) sketch featuring Bobby Lee as a high school wrestler wrestling a science geek played by...Triple H, speaking with big words and all, in a falsetto voice.
  • Gorilla Monsoon was fond of using obscure medical terminology in his play-by-play. A shot to the back of the head would be described as hitting "the external occipital protuberance," while a chair-shot to the back would be said to have damaged "the subscapularis area." His color commentary partner Bobby "The Brain" Heenan once parodied this. A male wrestler kicked his male opponent in the stomach, and Brain said, "There's a kick to the uterus."
  • Damien Sandow, the Intellectual Savior of the Unwashed Masses
  • Nick Bockwinkel practically invented the use of Ivy League vocabulary in wrestling promos referring to opponents as "belligerent recalcitrants" and fans as "cretinous humanoids."
    • This was even lampshaded for comedic effect by Bockwinkel's former manager Bobby "The Brain" Heenan when Heenan inducted him into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007:
      Bockwinkel: We have a tremendous audience of obsequious sycophants, and -
      Heenan: Hey, hey - this is your induction, this isn't an interview or a promo. Speak English!
  • The Jackyl (Don "Cyrus" Callis) lampshaded his tendency to do this at the start of the Golga vs. Headbanger Thrasher match, which marked the debut of the Oddities, on the May 25 (taped May 19), 1998 WWF Raw Is War, telling announcer Jim Ross, "I know I have a tendency to speak above your intellectual level."
  • Ed Wiskoskinote , one of wrestling's many teachers-turned-wrestlers, would cut promos using this kind of language when he and "Playboy" Buddy Rose were teaming in the old NWA Pacific Northwest territory, and Rose would sum up the promo by saying, "What he basically said, for everyone who didn't understand, is we're going to kick everybody's ass."
  • Ronda Rousey's promo style is this, something Becky Lynch and her fans have a heyday with on Twitter.

  • Eugene on Adventures in Odyssey speaks this way to the point of hilarity or exasperation, depending on who he's speaking to. Katrina has a vocabulary to match Eugene's, but is careful to limit her verbosity to when they are speaking to each other, although even this seems to have changed by the time she returned from her bus trip.
  • W.C. Fields made this into a career.
  • The Bob & Ray character Dr. Eugene Stapley, the 'Word Wizard', is a broad parody of this trope... at times possibly just a bit broader than intended. After Bob suggests 'plunging straight into the mail': "Male and female serve only to differentialize one type of living creature from another. Now, undoubtedly some male members of the animal kingdom would be softer, say, to plunge into than others; but in any coincidence, the act of literally plunging into the male would in all probabilitiness be injureful!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • Bad roleplaying character descriptions can invoke this trope as the result of their players evidently consulting a thesaurus every few words in an attempt to sound eloquent or pad out their description to hundreds of words. This is just one example.
  • The flavor text for the Magic: The Gathering card Uktabi Kong, apparently meant to convey that he's smarter than the average ape: "I desire the acquisition of a potassium-rich fruit comestible of substantial magnitude." It's a parody of the much loved (and hated) flavor text on Odyssey's Gorilla Titan: "I wanna banana this big!"

  • The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade.
  • Hamlet spoofs it with the character Osric, who desperately tries to look intelligent by talking this way. Hamlet mocks him by going even farther over the top with it. As you might imagine, a Shakespeare speech that's deliberately written to be obtuse and impenetrable is quite something to witness.
    • Polonius and his love of speaking many words! "Brevity is the soul of wit," indeed.
    • And the Archbishop in Henry V, whose loquaciousness over Henry's right to the French crown is usually played for laughs, but also hides the reality that Henry's claim to the English crown was almost as weak (his father having been a usurper)
    • Holofernes and Nathaniel's copious amounts of latin in Love's Labour's Lost also qualifies.
  • Actor and magician Ricky Jay is a living embodiment of this trope, particularly in his show "Ricky Jay and His 52 assistants, where he describes throwing a playing card into the air and catching it again as "throwing a card a simulacrum of the Australian boomerang". Observe also, this card trick.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan:
  • Parodied to the extreme with Lucky's three-page monologue in Waiting for Godot. Read through it carefully and there is actually a philosophical point being made, but it is embroidered with so much verbal diarrhea, non-sequiturs, and sheer nonsense that it sounds like a complete load of gibberish.
  • Jerry, a character in Voices from the High School, decides to imitate the language of Shakespeare, much to his friend's chagrin.
  • Parodied in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), which includes the line "We have traced the roots of Shakespeare's symbolism in the context of a pre-Nietzschean society through the totality of a jejune circular relationship of form, contrasted with a complete otherness of metaphysical cosmologies, and the ethical mores entrenched in the collective subconscious of an agrarian race". The published version of the script contains a footnote: "Don't bother reading that sentence over again. It's covering a costume change and is completely meaningless".
  • Parodied to the extreme with Lucky's three-page monologue in Waiting for Godot. Read through it carefully and there is actually a philosophical point being made, but it is embroidered with so much verbal diarrhea, non-sequiturs, and just sheer nonsense words that it sounds like a complete load of gibberish.
  • In Leading Ladies, Audrey atttempts to sound more intelligent by sprinkling longer words into her vocabulary, and then feels the need to define them for the audience.
    "The aisles. See? They're nice and straight. And they're numerous, which means there's a lot of them, and they're contiguous, which means that one comes right after the other in a straight line, like two worms sucking each other's lips. My name's Audrey."

    Video Games 
  • Throughout the Arkham games, The Riddler constantly peppers his speech with five dollar words to show off how smart he is. This ends up backfiring on him in the Catwoman DLC in Knight since his security AI does not recognize most of his bigger words, forcing him to stop and explain them.
  • Baldur's Gate II:
    • One character encountered early speaks like this, and uses it as evidence that he is more intelligent than everyone around him. If your own character has a high enough Intelligence score, you can insinuate (in a similarly roundabout, verbose way) that you think he does so to make up for a rather private "deficiency" on his part.
    • Edwin too, IS this trope.
      Edwin: Marvelous work! You've obviously exceeded your lowborn heritage and surged to the vanguard of goonery!
      Protagonist: ... Uh, what?
  • In Bookworm, the whole point of the game is to get the player into this way of speaking so as to score higher. Lex the bookworm in Bookworm Adventures often speaks like this; this is, in fact, the whole point of the game, as the longer words you spell, the more damage you inflict on your enemies. There's also the game's finale, where Lex actually uses a slightly shorter version of one of the words mentioned in the trope description to deliver the final blow. See here (major spoiler warning!).
  • Ishi tends to do this in Bulletstorm. His partner... doesn't.
    Ishi: Shoot those tanks, the blast compression will create a—
    Hunt: Shoot the tanks, that's all you gotta say! *BOOM*
  • At one point in Burger Shop, the player character decides to take a cruise, only for the ship to hit what burger-making robot BurgerTron refers to as a "non-frontal synoptic scale low-pressure system over tropical waters with organized convection and definite cyclonic surface wind circulation." In other words, a rather big typhoon.
  • Guile from Chrono Cross (almost) always speaks like this.
    • The way he talks about finding a ferryman and a boat to get across the sea is rather wordy.
      "What we need now is a seasoned sailor and a sturdy boat to cross the rough waters."
    • His speech about his 'thirst' for enigmas gets pretty long-winded.
      "At the manor, I have learned that the world is full of enigma not yet beheld. Mysteries without tricks. Something beyond human perception... That is what I seek... I will continue to accompany you on your journey, in hopes that I will come in contact with such undiscovered enigmas..."
  • An email in one of the computer in Deus Ex: Human Revolution talks about the lack of chairs. And it ends with a line in speech manner contrasting the rest of the email.
    In the meantime, please refrain from using expensive lab equipment as makeshift sitting apparatus. If you must insist on using a non-sanctioned sitting apparatus, please consider the tensile strength of materials present in the object in question in comparison to your own mass volumetric density.
  • Gale from Digital Devil Saga engages in this. He gets somewhat better as his Character Development goes on, but he never drops it.
    Gale: I do not comprehend.
  • Dr. Ludger Brink does this in The Dig to distract an alien monster from eating colleague Maggie Robbins (to no real purpose, as it cannot possibly understand English in any form). In fact, it almost backfires, as the big words prove equally distracting to player-character Boston Low. When Brink urges Low to hurry up with the rescue, he just mutters, "I'm still trying to figure out what you said."
    Brink: Come here, you phlegm-carapaced slime-faced mucus-brained furry-legged abductor of luminously intelligent but pulchritudinous Earth women!
    Boston: ...
    Brink: Low, you idiot! Why are you standing there?
    (and later)
    Brink: Come on, you ponderous exoskeleton, you cocoon-eating lobster-faced cave-dwelling arthropoidal alimentary sphincter muscle!
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    "How may I persist you?"
    • The author of the in-game book Liminal Bridges uses exceptionally long, obscure words. To quote the opening sentence:
    "Transliminal passage of quickened objects or entities without the persistent agency of hyperagonal media is not possible, and even if possible, would result in instantaneous retromission of the transported referents."
  • Dr. Edward Roivas of Eternal Darkness is a very eloquent speaker, which fits given that his narrations are a homage to Lovecraft. The Ancient Ulyaoth always has a vocabulary to match his grand size.
  • By the second Fantasy Quest game, the narration turns into full-out parody, challenging you to "absquatulate with the Golden Cufflink of Fire"...
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Due to her immensely dry dialogue, Shelke from Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus has been classified as this by fanon.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Urianger does it for even the most basic conversations. While he is indeed very intelligent and a useful source of exposition for the player, he seems to go out of his way to make every explanation he gives as long winded as possible due to his own flair for the dramatic. Several characters often remark that he is want to use ten words where one would suffice.
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Bastian is often known for this, and contrasted with Geoffery who often verbally plays The Stoic. Miriel from Fire Emblem: Awakening seems to fall into this category as well, often bringing up the amelioration and propitious growth of her stats; her son, Laurent, naturally follows suit.
  • Valve's Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator (Gravity Gun) from Half-Life 2, and Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (Portal Gun) from Portal, as well as many of the utterances of the Genetic Lifeform and Disc Operating System from the latter title. The latter partially comes from the Aperture Science folk wanting to stick their name in front of everything (Aperture Science Material Emancipation Grill, Aperture Science High-Energy Pellet, Aperture Science Vital Apparatus Vent, etc).
    • Dr. Kleiner is likewise rather prone to communicating in this manner, especially when the nature of his audience makes it inappropriate.
      Dr. Kleiner: For those so inclined, now would be an excellent time for procreation! Which is to say, in layman's terms, you should seriously consider doing your part for the revival of the species.
      Alyx: Is Dr. Kleiner actually telling everyone to... get busy?
    • Aperture Science in general loves this trope. Fifteen Hundred Megawatt Aperture Science Heavy Duty Super-Colliding Super Button anyone?
      • Aperture Science Aerial Faith Plate (a catapult)
      • Aperture Science Edgeless Safety Cube (a ball)
  • One True Final Boss in Hellsinker was called "Floccinaucinihilipilification". This is also one of Ranyon (The series creator) most distinct traits making translating his games very hard due to his obsession of details in the subject the text covers. This is often called "Ranyonese" by fans.
  • Yvonne Barnes from In the 1st Degree engages in this. Of course, she is working for the mayor and she is a witness in a murder trial. Her reputation and image are important to her as a result.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising:
    • Palutena dips into this while teasing Pit:
      Palutena: The monster situation is quite clamant.
      Pit: Is... that a good thing?
      Palutena: You know. It's importunate, or unpropitious.
      Pit: Are you still speaking English right now?
      Palutena: I'm sorry Pit. I didn't mean to confuse you. Here, let me make this easy for you. Big monsters kill Pit! Grr!
      Pit: Ah! That makes perfect sense! Thank you!
    • And when Pit faces off against the Hewdraw head.
      Palutena: Despite my winsomeness and equanimity, I do have a strong streak of rascality.
      Pit: I don't even know what that means!
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Luxord from makes his entrance declaring the Heartless boss he summons a "veritable maelstrom of avarice".
    • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, he combines this trope with alliteration and a hefty amount of gambling-related puns.
    • Every character whose consciousness derives (either fully or partially) from a Xehanort will inevitably resort to this, usually for the purpose of monologuing. Master Xehanort gets to deliver a particularly-sesquipedalian two-word insult - "Feckless neophyte" - though the rest of the Xehanort incarnations each have their own chance to try their hands at it.
  • In Kitty Powers' Matchmaker, Geeks usually speak in overly technical terms. At the end of a date they'll say 'You've won my cardiovascular organ!', for example.
  • Tahm Kench from League of Legends as part of his Wicked Cultured persona often speaks in such a manner, it also helps him word his offered Deals with the Devil in such as a way as to always benefit him and help sate his endless hunger for souls.
  • Arno from the Learning Voyage series talks in this way to show off how smart he is. For example, when he introduces himself, he says "My appellative is Arno."
  • Raziel from the Legacy of Kain series is only the worst offender, but all characters are guilty, owing to the series' knack for Shakespearean speech and monologues. To the point that it's jarring and hilarious when Kain is finally so rattled by something that all he can manage is, "What in the hell?"
  • "Them's Fightin' Herds": In story mode, the player can find a book on the floor in the wrong room of the museum. If you bring it back to the museum's library, the librarian reads its title: “Do the telluric alpaca hermeneutics transpose the peripatetic lautretics of Unicornian philosophy because of the factic iniquity of the non-dogmatic Amaryllian dialogues?”
  • The Legend of Spyro: Volteer talks like this, often to the annoyance of the other Dragon Guardians and Sparx, though Spyro somehow has no problem understanding him. Example:
    Volteer: It's hard to be absolutely sure, Ignitus, but it seems she was using me as some sort of suspended, organic power source.
    Sparx: Huh?
    Spyro: She was using him as a battery.
    Sparx: Why didn't he just say so?
    • Another one from Volteer:
    Volteer: Your hypothesis is an intriguing one, but it is perplexing to the extreme
    Sparx: Huh?
    Spyro: He says he doesn't know what he's talking about.
    • Bentley from the original series did this. Or at least, the one from Spyro 3 did.
      • Why, you brazenly avaricious duplicitous, larcenous ursine!
      • I will endeavor to assist you by means of a steady provision of combustible projectiles.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword brings us Beedle the shopkeeper. Talk to him in the day when he's doing his job, and he speaks like every other NPC out there. However, if talk to him at night, when he's not on duty, he suddenly talks in a highly affected accent and starts using words like "tenebrous." If you bring it up to him, he brushes you off.
  • Near the end of the first Mega Man Legends game, we get this:
    Mega Man Juno: Therefore, as keeper of this island, I hereby exercise my Prerogative of Correctional Dispensation.
    Mega Man Volnutt: Prerogative of Correctional... what!?
    Mega Man Juno: Allow me to rephrase; I will exercise my authority to terminate your program.
  • Marcus from Ninja Pizza Girl is absurdly well-spoken and loves bombastic turns of phrase. In a stroke of Irony, the story arc he's part of revolves around him becoming lost for words whenever he tries to confess his feelings for Giselle. Gemma helps him forego what he himself calls "the vulgarity of speech" by making a Grand Romantic Gesture instead.
  • The Judge from OFF almost always talks in a sophisticated, eloquent manner.
    The Judge: Nevertheless, I will introduce myself. I am the Judge, and I am aching to know your name, dear elusory interlocutor.
  • The Nomai in Outer Wilds mostly spoke normally (according to your translator device) except when they use figures of speech, which get translated as this — "bitten off a larger portion than I can consume", "pulling my locomotive limb", "on the other appendage" — perhaps to suggest that the idioms they're using are foreign to the player character's species.
  • Taken to ridiculous extremes in the fan-made Phylomortis RPG Maker games where every single character spoke in nothing but big words... including children no older than six years old. Even the in-game tutorials abused this. That, coupled with their Nintendo Hardness made the series inaccessible to all but the most dedicated gamers. The sole gimmick of the game was its ridiculous standard of vocabulary, however, so it's safe to say that its target audience (however small) was indeed captured. Not just the characters. Most of the menu commands and system dialogue, too. Most games would be content with ending a battle with "Victory!" or "You won the battle!" Phylomortis capped it off with "You mercilessly slew the obnoxious foe..."
  • Generation V of Pokémon gives us Shauntal of the Elite Four, who talks like this until you beat her, at which point she simply proclaims you "awesome!". She reverts right back to her normal, diffuse speech right afterward, though. Apparently, she's a writer.
  • Pulp Adventures has William Harper "Johnny" Littlejohn from the Doc Savage franchise (cf. Literature) as one of the (many) available player characters. His flavour text not only refers to the trope but one of his ability, "Voluminous Vocabulary" weaponizes this by confusing the enemies. The description of the ability is itself an example of the trope:
    "Utilize your affection for circumlocution to leave your antagonists temporarily discombobulated."
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, Captain Qwark disguised as Abercrombie Fizzwidget does this... or at least tries to. However, he just comes off looking like a total moron as he constantly spews words that don't exist. The real Fizzwidget doing this correctly is about the only character trait we see of him in his short amount of screen time.
  • Sam & Max:
    • Sam, a six-foot canine shamus, tends to express himself in this general manner. The manner tends to annoy his partner. Perhaps his most elegant wordsmithing takes place in this promo. Sam occasionally demonstrates that he is Sophisticated as Hell.
      "An episodic sociopathic lagomorph. The mind boggles."
  • In Sticky Business, the frog agent uses overly formal words when ordering stickers from you.
    "Require adhesive decals."
  • Tales of Monkey Island:
    • In "Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay", Guybrush has another meaning to "You suck!":
      Guybrush: My assessment of your cannon-operating skills, not to mention your personal appearance, odor and intelligence, is that you are unmistakably inferior in each of those criteria.
    • Near the end of Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, when Guybrush asks De Singe what he's doing with the Vaycaylian Wind Control Device (before attempting to toss La Esponja Grande into the device), De Singe replies, "You see, using my handbuilt Harpsichronitron, in conjunction with my Oscimoligrophiscope to seek out a resonant frequency with the Vaycaylian Climatiphone, I hope to anatomize living tissue on a macroscopic basis!" Guybrush, however, becomes clueless and can ask De Singe to repeat with the purposes of all this machinery, and De Singe can translate that he's using the piano device ("this machine") to make the Wind Control Device ("that machine") "smash people into a fine powder," which, of course, causes Guybrush to say, "Hey, that's not very nice!"
  • The Engineer in Team Fortress 2 frequently switches between this (when he's explaining his constructs or means of defending himself) and a comparatively more simple way of speaking.
    "Hey look, buddy, I'm an engineer, that means I solve problems. Not problems like 'What is beauty?' because that would fall within the purview of your conundrums of philosophy. I solve practical problems. Fer instance: How am I gonna stop some big, mean mother-hubbard from tearing me a structurally superfluous new behind? The answer...use a gun. And if that don't work? Use more gun."
  • A scene in Warriors Orochi had Nobunaga say, "Encircle, eviscerate, and extirpate the odious ophidian!"
  • The Gnomes as a whole from World of Warcraft tend to do this, best exemplified by some of their jokes and flirt emotes.
    "I don't feel the 1 to 10 scale is fine enough to capture subtle details of compatibility. I'd prefer a 12-dimensional compatibility scale with additional parameters for mechanical aptitude and torque."
    • In Battle For Azeroth, this even stretches to the ability names of a tribe of gorillas who have been feeding on kaja'mite; a mineral substance discovered by goblins that enhances intellect. The rank-and-file use an ability called Parabolic Excrementnote  while the tribe's leader - King Da'ka - often uses one called Locomotion Via Ballistic Trajectory... which is just a copy of the Warrior's Heroic Leap.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Luke Atmey from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Trials and Tribulations combines this with a flair for descriptions that are over-dramatic to the point of obtuseness. Phoenix can usually only manage a rough translation, usually for the benefit of Maya, who is more often totally lost.
    • Also Redd White's fantabulous vocabulosity!
    • And Valant Gramarye, who combines this with alliteration. Apollo even notes that "his overly loquacious manner can get annoying".
    • Wesley Stickler and his penchant for using twenty words to say what that can be said in five deserves a mention too.
  • Saul from Daughter for Dessert speaks in embellished sentences with lots of big words.
  • Mercurius from Dies Irae is rather infamous for his oftentimes needless verbosity to the point that the narration hangs a lampshade on it, though of course done in his usual fashion:
    "In an introspection, in a calm introspection of his many negatives, Mercurius found his taste for jests to be the one that stood out the most. Next came his needless verbosity. With his nature being that of an inconsiderate man, he was severely unequipped to speak the necessary words at the necessary time in the necessary amounts. He acknowledged that fact. In fact, he was doing it right now. The meaning of the deluge of letters he had just spouted forth could be boiled down to the simple and meager four word sentence "I talk too much." He was a wordsmith that refined the complicated and reforged the straight forwards into the complex. That was how he preferred to perceive and present his thoughts. It was small wonder those environing his would consider him vexing."

    Web Animation 

  • Vaarsuvius from The Order of the Stick, especially early on.
    • In the prequel book On the Origin of PCs, Roy has a go at it himself to convince Vaarsuvius that he's not just a big, dumb fighter who wants to suborn the smart guy by hiring him.
      Roy: Or maybe I'm hiring you because I require the creation of a managed spherical energy release with a thermal signature no less than 1850 Kelvin, which can be manifested at specific X, Y, and Z coordinates from verbal cues. I require this precise temperature because it is the minimum level at which necrotized epidermis has been proven to combust, and I have reason to believe that my mission will require the incapacitation of multiple post-organic hostiles.
      Vaarsuvius: So... you need Fireball spells to toast the undead you expect to fight?
      Roy: Did I stutter?
    • For obvious reasons Vaarsuvius is an exception to the usual Talking Is a Free Action rule. But even then, no matter how long-winded their spiels get, it's still only a standard action at worst, comparable to casting a spell. Observe.
  • Marcus from 1/0 not only uses big words, but he also makes them up. In keeping with the rules of English, albeit words only eccentric bureaucrats (or Lewis Carroll) would ever use. E.g.: complexitization, endetailing, envivifating, manifestulates, etc.
  • Typographical Acknowledgment: A Slice of Life comic, it uses this infrequently, most prominently in the title. It is more, however, a comment on teenagers' overuse of Purple Prose in any written work of theirs. Naturally, it is written by a teenager who overuses Purple Prose in any written work of his.
  • Penny Arcade's Tycho, both the author and the in-comic persona, likes to do this, as does his niece Ann (AKA Annarchy). When Penny Arcade did the mini-series Automata, Carl Swangee at one point refers to talking about the weather as "the ambient barometric pressure".
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, the hyper-intelligent fuzzy monster Molly peppers her speech with big, obscure, or antiquarian words — but she is equally likely to use teenage slang or kindergarten kiddie-speak. Galatea makes an observation of her sister's odd speech patterns here.
  • Lackadaisy:
    • Rocky, the majority of the time. Being a two-bit musician with pretentions of being a gangster.
    Rocky: (trying to avoid being shot) Avril, Avril! From one reasoned individual to another... uh, if speech is truly what separates us from the beasts... as the Greeks suggested... I remain optimistic we're not yet beyond a resolution... uh, through civil discourse?
    Avril: ARRAAWRGH! (slams Rocky against a wall and throws him to the ground)
    • This becomes even more noticeable when he's around Freckle, who rarely says more than a couple of words at a time.
    • Mordecai Heller does this as well. It's most pronounced in a side comic featuring his younger self critiquing his little sister's stick figure drawing. Naturally, since she's at best five years old, she has no idea what he's talking about and thinks the big words are funny. As an adult his vocabulary often evokes blank stares.
  • Massey Reinstein in Schlock Mercenary uses this trope to intimidate Schlock in one strip. It works.
    Ebby: Well? How'd it go?
    Schlock: (close to tears) Massey beat me up with big words.
    • Equally fun is a few strips earlier when Ebbirnoth describes having had his only (grapefruit-sized) eye shot off, and the effects of the drug cocktail he was given to keep the pain under control.
  • Downplayed in Stand Still, Stay Silent when Mikkel uses it to lampshade the ridiculousness of Emil's request. While not up to par with other examples of this page, it definitely stands out in the comic.
    I see. I will dedicate my time and effort to revitalizing this wild and feral animal you found.
  • The L33t D00d from MegaTokyo has his nigh-impenetrable l337 5p33k translated as grandiose prose. ""j00 90++ @ chO0$3 +3h r19h+ 94M3, 0r 5}{3 w1LL 0wnz0r j00", for example, becomes "You must be committed to the correct game; otherwise, defeat is inevitable".
    • A more literal translation though is: "You gotta choose the right game, or she will own you."
  • In Emergency Exit Nyos uses this trope to discourage anyone from speaking to him when he responds at all. However, he will use simpler speech when he wants to be understood. Even his boss has a difficult time with him.
  • In Bob and George, there's an entire alternate universe consisting out of people who only talk like this. Sure, they can dumb themselves down to communicate with the lessers, but when at one point there's a present, a future and a far future version of two characters there's only Sesquipedalian dialogue.
  • Kin, the yuan-ti from Goblins lapses into this when she's stressed.
    Kin: Yuan-ti have a high intelligence when compared to humanoids and in my case, it causes me to fall victim to an exponentially redundant vocabulary when I become nervous.
  • Nature of Nature's Art has almost every important character talk this way, thanks in large part to the very nature of the webcomic, though it's eased up in the latter portions of the latest story.
  • Rose Lalonde from Homestuck. She wrote a game FAQ entirely using this and Purple Prose, just for one example.
    • An eventual character corresponding to her via IM services, Kanaya, has just as big a vocabulary if not more so, and applies it in a less purple and more literal way.
    • Equius falls victim to this from time to time.
    • Eridan also appears to have quite an extensive vocabulary and is not hesitant to show it.
    • And Kankri blows them all out of the water. He rarely has anything to say that isn't at least a few pages long, leaving the poor Karkat completely speechless upon their first meeting in [S] ACT 6 INTERMISSION 3.
    • Aranea too, as well as Vriska. It's apparently a common trait among Light aspect players, which is fitting because Light seems to be about information.
  • Questionable Content's Hannelore Ellicot-Chatham will often descend into this, especially if she's having a nervous fit. Faye can also pull it off when she's feeling especially snarky.
  • Suicide for Hire's characters all use long words, and a lot of 'em. The comic's banner has a caption reading "Yeah, it's got dialogue. If you don't like it, you are entitled to bite my ass."
  • Fetch Quest: Saga of the Twelve Artifacts' Felicia tends to use big words when she talks, which is perfectly fine for her, but awkward for others. Ambrosia calls her out on this practice:
    Ambrosia: Felicia, I'm twelve. Don't throw around big words.
  • Exterminatus Now. Professor Lewis tries to explain a concept to the (somewhat pro)tagonists, and fails utterly. Finally, he went in the exact opposite direction, and summed it up:
  • El Goonish Shive:
  • The Monster & The Girl: Kenrick almost always favors big words and says almost everything in a long-winded manner
  • In End Of Infinity, this seems to be Silver's default mode of speech. Per others' request, he attempts to tone it down and speak normally, with questionable success.
  • In Magience, Jae uses big words to make other people feel inferior.
  • In stark contrast to being unintelligible in the movies, Chewbacca in Darths & Droids.
  • In The Bird Feeder #72, "Defenestration," Lewis attempts to confide in Darryl about his fear of being thrown out of windows, but Darryl misses the point entirely due to his vocabulary not being quite large enough.
  • In Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal 2010-08-02, a scientist creates an invention called the logogeneplex, which turns clear wording into this. Example: "We used a ruler" becomes "We utilized a linear distance analyzer."
  • Unsounded: Duane enjoys using flowery, elaborate language. Flashbacks reveal developed the habit after leaving for Wizarding School and might be doing it to overcompensate for his humble roots; however, he also has a sincere love of theatre, which might colour his diction.
  • Darths & Droids: Chewbacca speaks in an overly verbose fashion when under the control of the GM, as a result of Jim imbuing him with traits his newly created player character was deficient in, namely wisdom and intelligence. When Ben takes over, he dials this down a little.

    Web Original 
  • A common game in the Image Boards is the "Verbose Thread": everybody must speak with the most convoluted sesquipedalianisms possible, and that includes the Image Macros. "I think halo is a pretty cool guy, he kills aliens and doesn't afraid of anything", for example, becomes "I hold a personal ideology whose central belief is that Master Chief from the Halo videogames is a quite remarkable and interesting man, because he terminates extraterrestrials and does not cower in the face of insurmountable odds." This has led, for example, to "NO U" becoming "I would like to elucidate the fact that the aforementioned statements about me apply more accurately to their own author."
    • Fascinating anecdote, fraternal sibling.
      • I optically perceive the actions you have performed upon the above discussion.
      • I would like to relate to my compatriots above that i am currently revolving to and fro upon the coniferous foundation of my abode, exhibiting so much hilarity i am of the opinion my posterior is detaching from my frame.
  • The title of this blog post by PZ Myers.
  • Twas The Nocturnal Segment of the Diurnal Period (aka Twas the Night Before Christmas).
  • Wikipedia can be said as being infamous for this, which is ironic given how the site actually discourages using highfalutin words in an excessive manner.
    • This Wikipedia article is about men having erections in their sleep. Sort of justified in that the author would take great pains not to sound vulgar.
    • Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the effects of tetrodotoxin, the poison found in pufferfish:
      "Paresthesiasnote  of the lips and tongue are followed by sialorrheanote , sweating, headache, weakness, lethargy, ataxianote , incoordinationnote , tremor, paralysis, cyanosisnote , aphonianote , dysphagianote , seizures, dyspneanote , bronchorrheanote , bronchospasmnote , respiratory failure, coma, and hypotensionnote ."
    • This is pretty typical for articles dealing with the symptoms of various toxins. At least they're (usually) courteous enough to pothole the more arcane words so you can just click them and say to yourself "oh, is that all that means?"
    • Has anyone googled the Wikipedia explanation for "Yo Mom" jokes before?
    • Look up Ebonics, African-American Vernacular English, on Wikipedia. Reading it without grinning is tougher than it sounds.
  • This is the entire point of the Joseph Ducreux meme, wherein people take popular phrases or lyrics and translate them into more technical and or upper-class versions. This meme allows for a great deal of creativity as it challenges one to utilize complicated language (as well as decipher memes generated by others) and can even help one build their vocabulary if enough memes are read and memorized. The Increasingly Verbose meme also utilizes this.
  • A contributor to the Internet Oracle once complained that answers were too verbose. He had only himself to blame for the response.
  • Pompous Ass Words lists words that "everyone should know about and never use"since they have no meaning that could not be conveyed with simpler, more common words. Incidentally, journalism supplies most of the pompous asses who use those words. Fun fact: "Trope" is on this list.
  • Henry Ramos Allup from El Chigüire Bipolar (he uses this in Real Life, and the blog exaggerates it).
  • On SMW Central, a user called Vamperumbra became known for this. It's best exemplified by the descriptions he wrote for his ROMhack submissions
  • Mord Valgardsson in ''Njal Gets Burned'.
    Hoskuld Thrainsson: Do you always have to talk in the most convoluted way possible?
    Mord: Indeed. As a chieftain, it behooves me to do so.

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    Western Animation 
  • Tom in The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan is practically defined by this trope, to the point where his siblings have commented more than once about how they wished he'd speak English. Also in "The Greek Caper", Tom was about to offer his suggestion on how to search for missing statue and was gently told by Alan to "keep it simple". Henry lampshades this in the comic book adaptation of "To Catch A Pitcher":
    Henry: Who else sounds like he ate a dictionary for breakfast?
  • Brain often speaks in highly technical terms on Arthur. In fact, it's shown that his parents keep a large dictionary at the dinner table because of it.
  • Dr. Emmett Lathrop Brown, a.k.a. The Doc, as portrayed in the Back to the Future animated series, is the king of this. The movie version, while prone to Techno Babble, isn't nearly as bad. Jules is also a master at it.
    Doc Brown: Golden fluid produced by the apis mellifera. I'm home.
    Clara: Oh, Emmett, I love it when you call me "honey".
  • Ben 10: Alien Force:
    • As Brainstorm (a "seafood platter with a rather high IQ", as he puts it), Ben 10 is prone to using extremely large words. With a British accent. His previous "smart form", Greymatter, tended to use words of a more normal size unless referring to scientific principles.
      Grey Matter: What is your malfunction? Probably something stupid like the DNA splicing replicator copying a fragment of amino acid sequence. [pause as Ben's mind starts to catch up]'' So this is what it feels like to be smart.
    • The Vreedle Brothers are a bizarre combination of erudite and slow-minded idiots.
      Octagon Vreedle: Now, can you see how one might construe that there reaction of yours as a tad bit excessive, if not wholly unnecessary?
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Dog Spray Afternoon", when Shampagne's mood hasn't improved, Bitsy's dog therapist suggest Shampagne should try a radical new treatment called "outdoor movement therapy", which Helen sums it up as walks.
  • Cow and Chicken:
    • In one episode the duo are visited by their black sheep cousin, the Black Sheep, whom everybody treats like a troublemaker. They do so partly because they assume he's a bad person out of stereotypical expectation, and partly because they don't understand his intelligent diction and think he's insulting them. Cow is the only person who's able to see past the ridiculous assumptions.
    • This also happens to Cow herself in an episode where she gets glasses and somehow becomes a genius.
  • In Darkwing Duck, Splatter Phoenix talks like this. How bad is it? Well, in her introduction she calls herself a "daringly innovative pseudo anti-neo post modern deconstructionist" and gets more long-winded from there.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: Dexter is fond of doing this with Expospeak Gag:
    • Making a to-do list that included the chore "Aquatic Nutrifacation" instead of "Feed Fish".
    • Referring to the wheels on a car as "High Output Torquifiers". Unique in that this is how a young boy would actually do something like this. "Torquifiers" is a Neologism, a suffix hastily slapped on thesaurus-poop.
  • Trader Johann from Dragons: Riders of Berk tends toward this trope, much to the chagrin of Hiccup and his friends when they need information from him. Also occasionally crosses over into Deadpan Snarker:
    Hiccup: Remember my father, Stoick the Vast? Chief of Berk? Do you know what "trade sanctions" are?
    Johann: Two words that should never be used in the same sentence?
  • Megabyte Beagle on two occasions in the DuckTales (1987) TV movienote  Super DuckTales. On both, he would eventually be told to "say it in Beagle talk".
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • Edd, often to the annoyance of his less-educated peers.
      Edd: Yup? Is that all you have to say for yourself? YUP? No rash attempt to deprive Kevin of his fortune?
      Eddy: Scam Kevin... That's what he said, right?
    • In the episode "Mirror, Mirror, On the Ed" where they pretend to be each other, Eddy attempts to mimic Edd in this manner, but fails miserably.
      Eddy: [as Edd] Eddy, I too am thirsty. Quite partial to be correct.
      Edd: [breaking character] PARCHED! The word you're looking for is parched!
  • Family Guy:
    • This trope was subverted in a gag where Peter was watching one of Dennis Miller's famous rants.
      Dennis Miller: I don't wanna go on a rant here, but America's foreign policy makes about as much sense as Beowulf having sex with Robert Fulton at the first Battle of Antietam. I mean, when a neo-conservative defenestrates, it's like Raskolnikov filibuster deoxymonohydroxinate.
      Peter: What the hell does rant mean?
    • Stewie does this in the early series; it was even lampshaded by Brian in "Back to the Pilot", where Brian asks Present Stewie if he used a dictionary when he was Past Stewie.
    • Peter develops this trait after he embarks on a journey of self-improvement and returns home as a scholar. His family has no idea what he's talking about.
  • Futurama:
    • Good old Professor Farnsworth can have this effect when he actually is making sense
      Farnsworth: There. That space-time eversion has given us their box and vice-versa!
      Leela: So what you think you just explained to us is that—
      Farnsworth: Correct! This box contains our own universe!
    • In another episode, it was turned around on him:
      Ethan "Bubblegum" Tate: I think we got ourselves an excess of Cronotons in the subatomic interstices.
      Farnsworth: Yes, I see. Something involving that many big words could easily destabilize time itself.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has Billy get Grim to magically change his F- on a recent test to an A. This has the unforeseen consequence of reversing reality for everyone except Grim and Mandy. Billy ends up becoming a genius with this trope in full effect, Irwin is a ladies' man, Puddin is the school bully, Sperg is a nerd, and so on.
  • Parodied temporarily in The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat: The Cat in the Hat speaks like this on occasion, notably from his first meeting with the Grinch until the Grinch starts scrambling his voice with his Vacuu-Sound Sweeper.
  • Hey Arnold! had Mr. Green run for city councilman against Councilman Gladhand, one of whom's tactics was using big words. Mr. Green even worried he couldn't win the election because he thought he couldn't sound as smart. He does win.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat has the tendency to do this sometimes; for example, he refers to making somebody laugh as "activating their zygomaticus muscles". Of course, nobody understands what he's talking about, since he's Surrounded by Idiots, so he ends up having to explain it in simpler terms.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: In "Yin-Yang", as Lilo and Pleakley chase Gantu for catching Yin and Yang, Pleakley says this.
    Pleakley: If Stitch wins, I'll be doing the dreaded Glocknar until the bovines return to their domiciles ('til the cows come home)!
  • The writers for Looney Tunes sometimes had a fondness for big words. In the mid-1940s, Daffy was quite fond of this. He once asked a crying dog, "Why the copious flow of lachrymal fluid, my garrulous canine?"
  • My Little Pony:
    • Wind Whistler. "This meteorological debacle is quite anomalous."
    • Peach Blossom too: "I will reconnoiter post-haste and ascertain what has transpired!"
    • Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic exhibits this trope whenever she's describing anything sciency, often showing great pride at her loquacious explanation.
  • Cap'n Turbot from PAW Patrol tends to talk with long and alliterative words.
    Cap'n Turbot: It's perplexing, how to pull a poor pachyderm up such a steep perpendicular precipice.
    Francois: (confused) Uh...what?
  • Moonrock on The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show would always do this. When the team went looking for a four-leaf clover to improve Schleprock's bad luck, he exclaimed, "Eureka! A Marsilea quadrifolia!"
  • Captain Hook from Peter Pan & the Pirates speaks so eloquently that many adults watching it would have a hard time understanding what he's referring to half the time. Fortunately he manages to make his meaning clear as most of the time he speaks when angry and insulting his crew. Despite being a pirate it doesn't come across as out of place thanks to the Victorian era gentleman style he has.
  • Phineas and Ferb: This is enforced by the titular duo. In "Lotsa Latkes" they're shown to be keeping a list of words beginning with "s" that kids their age seldom use, and checking them off as they say them.
  • In the Pinky and the Brain episode "TV or not TV" Brain has a brief career as a stand-up comedian involving him insulting the audience by phrasing his insults using Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. The Brain does this constantly, even going so far as to rephrase common expressions with more advanced vocabulary ("The game does not conclude until the woman with the eating disorder ululates.")
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Mo'Linguish", Mojo Jojo teaches the whole town to speak like he does. The simple, straightforward word is intentionally neglected in favor of over-eloquence. Example from the Mayor, calling about a bank robbery:
    The Mayor: There is a stealing of sorts happening at the place where money is given and taken, that is to say deposited and withdrawn — and sometimes redistributed and loaned. But currently the taker is taking that which is not his, thus performing an act of illegality, which could result in incarceration within the confines of a penal facility, that is to say prison, jail, hoosegow, et cetera.
  • Egon Spengler's penchant for this in The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters is exaggerated from his movie counterpart.
    Peter: Egon, remember what I said. If you're gonna stay on our planet, you have to speak our language.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Bart's Friend Falls in Love" has Homer start talking like this after a Sleep Learning tape intended to curb his hunger is switched with a vocabulary builder. "Lamentably, no. My gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety." Later played with, when Homer loses his vocabulary without regaining his ability to communicate succinctly.
      Homer: Marge, where's that... metal dealy... you use to... dig... food...
      Marge: You mean, a spoon?
    • Some of the more intellectually inclined Springfield residents (Sideshow Bob, Professor Frink) occasionally indulge in this. And then there's Mr. Burns and his Antiquated Linguistics. Being the aesthete that he is, Sideshow Bob, however, rejected the sesquipedalian but inelegant "disembowel" in favour of a much shorter word when he wrote down what to do with Bart in Cape Feare:
      Sideshow Bob: No, I don't like that 'bowel' in there. Gut him! Ah, le mot juste.
  • South Park:
    • Spoofed in the episode "Woodland Critter Christmas", where Mousey the Mouse is a parody of the stock "Smart" character in cartoons, complete with comically large glasses and a slavish adherence to this trope.
    • Kenny does this when writing to his friends from Hawaii in "Going Native", complete with sophisticated-sounding adult voiceover. Stan lampshades this Out-of-Character Moment.
      Stan: "The morrow?" The fuck is up with Kenny?
  • Doctor Octopus in The Spectacular Spider-Man, especially post-Freak Out. "I cannot believe I once lived in this anemic hovel."
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Evil Genius Plankton has a habit of speaking this way. His speaking this way in trying to recruit mooks in a Bad Guy Bar doesn't end well for him.
      Plankton: Felicitations, malefactors! I am endeavoring to misappropriate the formulary for the preparation of affordable comestibles! Who will join me?
    • Patrick, surprisingly, talks this way several times, just not to the point seen above.
      Patrick: The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Peridot is constantly talking in this manner. Amethyst finds it hilarious and asks Peridot what she calls various body parts:
      Amethyst: Hey Peridot, what do you call this? [points to nose]
      Peridot: A Scent Sponge.
      Amethyst: What's this? [points to eye]
      Peridot: Vision Sphere.
      Amethyst: These? [wiggles fingers]
      Peridot: Touch Stumps.
      Amethyst: This? [points to foot]
      Peridot: Gravity Connectors.
      Amethyst: This? [points to posterior]
      Peridot: THAT'S YOUR BUTT!
    • Pearl does this sometimes as well, because she's The Smart Guy and prone to being overly dramatic.
      Pearl: Are the shirts destroying the wearer's will to continue on in this mortal coil, thereby shutting down Beach City?!
  • Mr. Longface Caterpillar from the 2009 Strawberry Shortcake movie peppers his speech with overly fancy words, which are translated by Blueberry Muffin. This is inverted at one point when he mentions fool's gold, and Blueberry "translates" this to its official name, iron pyrite. He continues this on the Berry Bitty Adventures show.
  • Don Karnage, the leader of the Air Pirates in Disney's TaleSpin, does this a lot.
    Don Karnage: My brilliant mind tells me that it may be time for a strategic withdrawal.
    Mad Dog: Say what?
    Don Karnage: RUN AWAY!!
  • Trapper Bull Gator, and the Platypus Brothers from Taz-Mania speak like this naturally.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) more than any other incarnation, Donatello is guilty of this. He frequently geeks out about future technology or the chemical properties of things he runs across, and Techno Babble ensues. One of the others (usually Michelangelo, but occasionally Raphael) acknowledges this, and usually asks him to repeat himself in English this time. Though sometimes the writers sacrifice snappier dialogue to remind us that he's the smart one:
    Donatello: If we take the south conduit, it'll intersect with the old drainage tunnel!
  • Total Drama Pahkitew Island: Scarlett tends to lapse into this due to her intelligence, only to quickly subvert it when she realizes that no one can understand her.
    "The laws of force in motion are simple. With Sky being the pivot point, I knew the inertia caused by the mass of the dueling stick would—-she swung too hard and fell down."
  • Perceptor, of The Transformers. It's particularly bad when your fellow robots, all of whom would likely have the whole of a given language in their databanks, ask you to say something "in [language], please". It probably doesn't help that he has a habit of going into details WHILE using complex words, to the point where Optimus tires of it in seconds. It's actually kind of justified; he's a gifted scientist in multiple areas, is used to thinking of these high-end areas in their scientific terms, and like any good real-life scientist, is really enthusiastic about his subject(s), and likes to discuss them when the opportunity comes up.
    • Grimlock also does it when he gets smart in the episode "Grimlock's New Brain".
    • Highbrow is also guilty of this, in "The Rebirth".
      Highbrow: I suppose it's the only meritorious way out of a meretricious situation.
      Hardhead: Yeah, me too, like he said.
    • Oddly enough, Brainstorm, who was the actual smart guy of the Headmasters team, spoke fairly commonly unless he actually needed the jargon. Highbrow just did it to sound smart.
    • You don't wanna get Genius Ditz Bulkhead from Transformers: Animated talking about space bridges. You'll miss Perceptor.
    • Across all series, Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp" is in effect and machine-related terms with elements of the Cybertronian life-cycle mixed in are always used. This can leave characters who are not supposed to be geniuses talking as if the X-Men's Beast taught them English on the way in. They're not parents, they're "protoform batch initiators." Even the show's tagline, "More than Meets the Eye", can be given onscreen as "more than meets the optic sensors."
  • Dapper T. Dog from Tuca & Bertie tends to talk like this. One such example comes in "The Promotion":
    "Dear editor of the Bird Town Gazette: foreseeing increased mobility issues, the black tar potholes on Beak Street have become untenable! As the owner of a vintage touring bicycle, I am endangered and frankly disturbed by the flippancy of our municipal pavers! As famed urbanist Elebert Whitscythe once said, 'roads are but the lymphatic system of the city.' So I urge you to repair Bird Town's concrete crevices post haste! Signed, Dapper T. Dog, fervent citizen velocipede."
  • Tish in The Weekenders. It becomes a plot point of an episode where the others refer to it as "Tishing" and it becomes a widespread saying.
  • One episode of WordGirl involves a villain using Applied Phlebotinum to cause random people to use large words in order to sell dictionaries. Wordgirl surprisingly averted this in one episode when she says that it's more important to use good words than big words.

    Real Life 
  • Was an Enforced Trope when universities placed absurdly-high numbers for "Minimum Word Count" during an extended academic research thesis. However, instead, students focused on putting as many fancy new words from the thesaurus as possible without getting the main idea of the thesis across. IMRAD was specifically created to eliminate these forms of sophistry through the use of Beige Prose, an on-the-point style of writing, and elimination of unnecessary literary decor as to not distract from the main idea of the thesis. Today, IMRAD-based theses have far lesser word counts and pragmatic vocabulary, while fancy classical theses with Purple Prose are, unless from a confirmed Ph.D, the subject of ridicule.
  • A common practice by grade school students, either because they're trying to sound smart/pack in more words in order to meet a minimum word count or amount of writing, or because it's enforced to expand their vocabulary. Usually dies out in high school/secondary school as students' lexicons expand to more appropriate words and usually less accessibility to dictionaries/thesauruses due to more rotating classes and thus not always being in English/Language Arts classrooms (where these books would probably be found and necessary more than in other classrooms).
  • Nikola Tesla invented the plasma globe (those cool things from the '80s), but he called it an Inert Gas Discharge Tube.
  • Many influential people from the Revolutionary Era of the United States tended to use overly complicated sentences in nearly every document. The most concise person back then was probably Thomas Paine, and even he had somewhat complex sentences every once in a while:
    "Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer..."
  • Scientific vocabulary:
    • Certain sciences have such an extensive jargon that has no synonyms that they cannot be properly explained in simple terms. Worse, some terms mean completely different things when used accurately than when used by laymen. As a result, sesquipedalian loquaciousness can sometimes be the only way of saying something because saying it "in simple English" makes it considerably less true. To start with, remember that in the sciences "theory" means "well-tested hypothesis that is tentatively accepted as accurate" (for example gravity has worked the same way every time it's been tested, thus its behavior is a scientific theory). In common parlance it just means "guess".note  Meanwhile, "law" is a much weaker concept, not a stronger one, used to create models under specific conditions. For example, Newton's law of gravity is that objects are pulled toward each other with a force equal to GMm/R2, and still holds for most purposes. His now-discredited theory of gravity is that this is a universal fact and that's all there is to it - since Einstein, there have been several competing theories of gravity, as well as several new laws for special cases, but Newton's law still basically holds.
      • One of the sciences where using less words makes things less true is biology. For example, you may say "we found the remains of a monkey", but a biologist will want to either hear that it's a "cebus imitator" aka a panamanian white-faced capuchin. Yes, "monkey" describes such an animal, but not very accurately. The longer version of the name narrows it down, but the actual scientific name is the most accurate description of the animal's species. From there, there's then 8 more levels of classification that it falls under. This verbosity is very necessary as there are so many species that it is just easier to use a complicated sounding name instead of describing all the unique features of the creature to explain what it is.
    • When Penzias and Wilson were working with a microwave receiver in the mid-1960s, they kept getting some background hiss which they couldn't get rid of. While documenting their work, they found that the horn of the antenna was covered by "white dielectric material", which had been "deposited" by the gray avian residents of the horn (i.e. pigeon poop).
    • The portrayal of this trope in fiction largely comes from these fields, in which someone speaking as tersely as possible without sacrificing precision can sound extremely long-winded, even mystical, to a layperson. This backfires to those versed in any of those fields, however, to whom this kind of longwindedness is associated with novices who don't yet understand that this will only highlight their inexperience, or with studies with a high emphasis on language itself - you know, arts.
    • Biologists are often enccouraged to address any species of living beings by its entire binomial or trinomial name, known to laypeople as a "scientific name". There are a number of reasons to justify this, most notably the overabundancy of common names a species can have even in one language which can be quite confusing and unrelated species of organisms ocasionally having the same common name.
  • The Dihydrogen Monoxide parody of scare tactics.
  • Older economists are infamous for their extremely long book titles. You think Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations? Try An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Yeah, baby. Economics as a science also has the most (initially) confusing terminology of any science. For example, the interest rate for loans from the Federal Reserve to banks is called the Discount Rate. Seriously?
  • Norse skalds had the habit of describing really simple objects by complex multi-component metaphors, filling their poetry with literary riddles that were deliberately hard to decipher. An example would be "Beowulf", or Björn (Bear). Bears like honey, they prey on it. Bees make honey. Wolves are predators. Bears are like wolves to the bees, therefore Bee-wolf.
  • This is the passage for which Judith Butler won the 1998 Philosophy and Literature Bad Writing Contest: "The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power." Translation: "As political theorists started thinking of institutions as things made by states, rather than components of states, they had to start thinking about how time and progress affects politics, rather than assuming that all institutions of the same type work more or less the same across all time periods."
  • Medical doctors are accused of using long Greek or Latin words to describe symptoms or illnesses that have simple common names. Some of it is unnecessary, but it also helps to make it absolutely clear exactly what they mean. You wouldn't want a mistake made because something wasn't exact.
    • Dave Barry mentioned this in one column, when he went to the doctor because his tongue was swollen. The doc called it something in Latin which Dave claims to have later looked up that meant "swollen tongue".
    • The best: "idiopathic". Which means "we don't know why it's doing that stuff".
      House: ...from the Latin word meaning "We're idiots because we can't figure out what's causing it".
    • Then there's "iatrogenic", an adjective for diseases caused by medical treatment.
    • "Nosocomial", meaning that nasty bug you got from the hospital.
    • Some doctors will also do this for insurance purposes. Many insurance companies require a diagnosis before paying for a visit, resulting in diagnoses like "benign dermal melanin concentrations" (freckles). The Diagnostic Standards Manual (DSM) used in psychology notoriously classifies every possible human behavior or character type as mentally abnormal to some degree or other (as most symptoms of mental illnesses can be described as "doing something normal in an abnormal manner", so handwashing = normal, handwashing every five minutes = abnormal). It's an open secret that it was written this way just to make it easier for mental health practitioners to bill insurance companies.
      • The codes of ICD-10 are so thorough that it is possible to express "Ran over and cut in half by a train" with them. If it has happened to someone anywhere there's a code. For example, W61.61XD means "bitten by duck, follow-up visit".
    • This often gets inverted in countries where medical terminology is based on the local language (like aforementioned Poland, for example), because it makes reading the papers written in foreign languages (or conversing with foreign colleagues) much more difficult in comparison to the universal Latin or Latinised terms.
  • The legal system is in many ways an attempt to use as many words as possible in describing simple things. This is supposed to—and actually does—make it easier for the lawyers and judges to know exactly what everyone is talking about (usually—some lawyers are bad writers, and some judges are even worse). If you're on trial for killing someone, the fact that there is a distinction between "murder," "voluntary manslaughter," "involuntary manslaughter," and "justifiable homicide" will be very helpful. Still, it is annoying to see three lines for something that could be said in a few words. The trick is that while legal terms, although seemingly complex, usually facilitate brevity ('involuntary manslaughter' in opposition to 'killing someone with no intention to do so'), the legal documents are usually a stellar example as they usually must describe absolutely everything the document might pertain to in smallest detail. The lack of this is more often than not the main reason behind legal Loophole Abuse. This is also what makes legal translation so difficult, and translators who take on the task often need special training.
  • It's becoming increasingly fashionable to try to sound like a legal document by using "said" as an article rather than just "the," even when there's no ambiguity as to which object you're talking about. This usually involves repeating the noun when you could instead use a pronoun: "I ordered a hamburger and ate said hamburger." Alternatively, people will use "the aforementioned," which is four syllables more impressive.
  • Computing is one area that has so much jargon (both technical and slang) that when you've had extensive exposure to the field, such as taking a Computer Science degree at university, or have just simply been mucking around with computers for years, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to explain something to someone with less knowledge of the subject than you.
    • The MP3 page at How Video Game Specs Work is a great example of this. See the page history for an apology from the entry's author saying why it's so difficult to explain the inner workings of an audio codec without lapsing into Technobabble. To drive the point home, the MP3 codec involves discrete digital signals, pulse-code modulation, sampling frequency, modified discrete cosine transform, frequency domain, filtering, convolution, Huffmann coding, information entropy, psychoacoustic modeling, bit rate, quantization, and media streaming.
    • Sufficiently large technical communities can develop their own specialized vocabulary on top of normal technical terms, such that an entire sentence can be incomprehensible to expert outside programmers, and doubly incomprehensible to non-programmers. And some jargon have been re-used to mean different things elsewhere, in both the specialist and layman sense.
    • This tends to extend to textbooks used by students entirely new to the field of programming with unfortunate results, compounded by beginners' classes usually focusing on teaching the students how to produce basic programs (for the sense of accomplishment) rather than on explaining what the book is saying and understanding the language and environment as a whole. On the other hand, people with extensive experience tend to learn faster with more jargon; each choice of word carries implications which add up rapidly into that big picture view of the system and who will be annoyed to buy a huge expensive book consisting mostly of "wasted space".
  • Everything becomes funny if you describe it with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, as Dr. Henry Gibbons has shown us: "A kiss is the anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicular muscles in a state of contraction."
    • Also known as "osculation".
    • Scientific American got in on the game as well: "the localized knowledge and know-how developed with untutored experience in particular everyday settings and activities—the so-called school of hard knocks"
    • Is it the Easter bunny, or is it A Lagomorph with delusions of being a Monotreme while undergoing annual charitable acts for the benefit of youthful persons on a day near the event of the spring equinox.
  • U.S. President Joe Biden is well known for this. During the 2008 Democratic primary, when asked at a debate whether he could be disciplined enough as president to restrain his tendency to run on at the mouth: "Yes."
  • Another U.S. Vice-President who engaged in this was Spiro T. Agnew. He also liked alliteration. Instead of calling the naysayers 'naysayers', for example, he called them 'nattering nabobs of negativism'. Many of these locutions were the product of the mind of his speechwriter William Safire, who would later go on to write the "On Language" column for The New York Times.
  • Composer Igor Stravinsky lapsed into this sometimes; an example taken at random from his book Poetics of Music: "The true hierarchy of phenomena, as well as the true hierarchy of relationships, takes on substance and form on a plane entirely apart from that of conventional classifications. Let me entertain the hope that the clarification of this thesis will be one of the results of my course, a result I greatly desire."
  • The winner of the 2006 Ig Nobel prize in Literature was Daniel M. Oppenheimer of Princeton University for his report "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly"
  • Baseball Hall of Famer "Orator Jim" O'Rourke.
  • Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, was an extremely well-educated man who was incessantly guilty of this trope. Some of his speeches which survive to this day contain sentences more than a hundred words in length. This may have something to do with his German upbringing as the German language is known for condensing several words into one. Thus something that could be said using one word in German may have required multiple words in English.
  • Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was sometimes criticised/mocked for not being able to say things simply. One famous example is him saying that a formerly paraplegic man had "achieved ambulation" (i.e. was able to walk again)
  • Ron Dennis, the former boss of the Mclaren Formula One team, made such exemplary use of this trope that it became known around the paddock as "Ronspeak". Asked why he spoke like that, he replied, "Adherence to a homogenous lexicon axiomatically optimises messaging consistency. So it works."
  • When comedian Dennis Miller starts to rant during his shows, he's pretty quick to break out his more verbose vocabulary in rapid succession, and is difficult to follow should one not be birthed from a tome of words.
  • The nonfictional portion of The Science of Discworld points out that without the use of "privatives" in language — terms for the absence of things, such as "dark" (no light), "cold" (lack of heat), or "sober" (a state of non-intoxication) — everyone would have to talk like this.
  • Jeremy Bentham, the founder of Utilitarianism, never used one short word when he could use a dozen long ones. Here's his attempt to sum up the philosophy in one sentence:
    "A man may be said to be partisan to the principle of utility, when the approbation or disapprobation he annexes to any action, or to any measure, is determined by and proportioned to the tendency which he conceives it to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the community."
    • In other words, a Utilitarian judges things as good or bad based on whether they make people more or less happy.
    • Philosophy in general runs up against this trope quite a bit, since a good chunk of it is devoted to fixing precisely the definitions of words that most people think they already know.
  • Russell Brand has made a veritable art-form out of blending prolixity and profanity. Garrulously, he will pontificate, sermonize, and evangelize, interminably vociferating fustian rhetoric - and all for the sake of a Nob Gag.
  • In his interviews and documentaries Orson Welles somehow manages to be a Sesquipedalian Loquacian Deadpan Snarker.
  • Richard Feynman, in his memoirs, recalled attending a lecture in some social science or other wherein he encountered the following sentence: "The individual member of the social community often receives his information via visual, symbolic channels." "Feynman "translated" this sentence as follows: "People read."
  • The preface to The United States Department of Defense Fact File admonishes readers against this trope on the very first page. See the Quotes tab.
    • The warning was badly needed. At one point Pentagonese got so obscure that a motor pool clerk who'd run out of lug nuts had to fill out a requisition form for "hexaform rotatory compression units."
    • This is an especially hilarious example, because clerks apparently created their own version of technical terms instead of just using the proper technical lingo (that can get sometimes convoluted too).
  • Some fans of Benedict Cumberbatch say that they have to check the dictionary practically every other word while they read/listen to his interviews.
  • When it comes to a Flame War on the Internet, you may sometimes have people trying to shut down their opponents by using complicated and sophisticated words to make the opposition look less intelligent by comparison. People that spot this will usually call that person out for trying to sound smarter than they really are.
  • Food companies are quite fond of this technique. In order to mask an undesirable item in a product's list of ingredients, the name is obfuscated in a technically truthful but misleading way. Thus, you get examples like health-food manufacturers using "evaporated cane juice crystals" in lieu of sugar.
  • Management, especially in big companies often resorts to Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness interspersed with buzzwords of the day. Sometimes it really serves the precision of the delivery, sometimes it's just an attempt to sound as professional as people from legal, financial or technical departments.
  • The hand is a prehensile, manipulable, multi-digited extremity. It generally comes in pairs.
  • Arthur Balfour was noted for this during his tenure as UK Prime Minister, with one of his favoured tactics in Parliament being to drag out even the simplest statements in order to waste time and wear down the opposition MPs. After he lost the 1906 election his replacement, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, took no end of pleasure in forcing Balfour to keep to giving brief, concise answers to questions.
  • People with a Romance language (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese...) as a first language can sometimes unintentionally sound like this when speaking English. Modern English results from a combination of Germanic and Romancenote  roots. While words from Germanic roots are shorter and more common, Romance words are longer and more formal, but, since they're closer from their own language, Romance-language speakers sometimes instinctively choose them. Conversely, they often miss the point when confronted with a loquacious fictional character, wondering why, say, Reed Richards reads like their butcher.
  • Siri, the iOS virtual assistant, tends to speak in this way. For instance, if you ask, "Why did the chicken cross the road?", she replies with, "I am not perspicacious about the peregrinations of poultry.", and if you mention the 'Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen' song to her, she responds with, "Waxing poetic about the natural symbiosis between writing instruments and seeded edibles, I see."
  • Filipino senator and presidential candidate Miriam Defensor-Santiago gained notoriety for eloquent use of English in her speeches during her political career. It has since been part of her public image, and despite being often parodied for being too complicated for the average Filipino to comprehend, she takes said parodies in stride and was very much alright with it.
  • Despite being one of the most celebrated writers of the 20th century and having written books about some pretty heavy topics, George Orwell was particularly against this. He even wrote the essay Politics and the English Language as a guide to better writing because he felt that this trope was often deliberately invoked by politicians, artists and journalists to obscure meaning or just talk without saying anything.
  • Inverted with the ancient Spartans, who considered this trope to be a sign of unintelligence. The Spartans believed an intelligent person should be able to say what they mean in as few, simple words as possible. Hence why so many quotes from the Spartans are so laconic (the word "laconic" is in fact derived from "Laconia", the region the Spartans lived in).
  • A Reader's Digest article discussed common writing errors by demonstrating them: "Kill all exclamation points!!!", "Avoid, commas, that are not, necessary.", and "Never use a large word when a diminutive one will do."

Alternative Title(s): Really Long Word, Big Words, Sesquipedalian Loquacity, Circumlocution



The lone Salamander lives up to his chapter's reputation for being the most compassionate of the Emperor's Space Marines, when he comes across a group of survivors in a desolated city.

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5 (9 votes)

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Main / GentleGiant

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