New Delhi: Shashi Tharoor has, perhaps, made as many headlines as a politician as he has for apparently being the custodian of the English language. On Wednesday, the man who has made it a habit of sorts to make use of little-known English words in common parley was at it again when he described his new book as a '400-page exercise in floccinaucinihilipilification.'
For anyone doubting if there is indeed such a word in the English dictionary, there is news. Oxford dictionary defines floccinaucinihilipilification as the action or habit of estimating something as worthless. It also mentions that the word originated in the 18th century from Latin and that it occurs very rarely in genuine use. Little wonder then that Twitter had a field day moments after Tharoor fired his message.
Thanks sir, will try to read. Hope the book doesn't give me pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis ! Now your turn to google...
— The-Lying-Lama (@KyaUkhaadLega) October 10, 2018
I am wondering what Shashi Tharoor's Siri is like. Does she ask Shashi the meanings of words instead of it being the other way round?
— Alok Badri (@alok_TTID) October 10, 2018
I get a feeling of floccinaucinihilipilification when I don't know the meaning of floccinaucinihilipilification
— Chacha Vidhayak Hai (@YeLaundaSakhtHa) October 10, 2018
You should sell it with a dictionary attached
— Jerry Raju (@jerraju) October 10, 2018
Tharoor has previously used little-known words like farrago, webaqoof, snollygoster, puerile - among others. In fact, he has also defended why he makes use of such words often. "To all the well-meaning folks who send me parodies of my supposed speaking/writing style: The purpose of speaking or writing is to communicate with precision. I choose my words because they are the best ones for the idea I want to convey, not the most obscure or rodomontade ones," he had tweeted in December of last year.