Shashi Tharoor accuses KTR of floccinaucinihilipilification in banter

The Kerala MP responded to TRS president K T Rama Rao over his post on difficult COVID medicine names

Shashi Tharoor, Congress presidential polls, Congress, Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul
Shashi Tharoor used the word floccinaucinihilipilification, which means “the action or habit of estimating something as worthless”.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is back with his exotic English vocabulary. On Friday he used the word floccinaucinihilipilification, which had Twitterati once again running for their dictionaries.

The word, which is difficult even to pronounce, was unheard of till Tharoor brought it up in a friendly banter with TRS working president K T Rama Rao over COVID-19 medicine names.

As per Oxford dictionary, floccinaucinihilipilification means “the action or habit of estimating something as worthless”.

It was Rama Rao, or KTR as he is popularly called, who poked Tharoor, by putting a tweet asking why medicine names are so tough to pronounce.


“On a lighter note, any idea who comes up with this unpronounceable names for meds? – Posaconazole – Cresemba – Tocilzumab – Remdesivir – Liposomal Amphoterecin – Flavipiravir – Molnupiravir – Baricitinib. And the list goes on…,” read the KTR tweet posted on Thursday (May 20) night.

KTR tagged Shashi Tharoor in another post and passed a tongue in cheek comment: “I suspect @ShashiTharoor Ji Pakka has a role to play in this.”

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Tharoor was quick to response. “Not guilty! How can you indulge in such floccinaucinihilipilification, @KTRTRS?” “Left to me I”d happily call them “CoroNil”, “CoroZero”, & even “GoCoroNaGo!” But these pharmacists are more procrustean….,” the Kerala MP wrote on his Twitter handle.

The politician, known for his penchant to use difficult words in English, mentioned another rare word, ‘procrustean’, an adjective defined by Oxford as “(especially of a framework or system) enforcing uniformity or conformity without regard to natural variation or individuality”.

But Twitterati lapped up the 29-letter word — floccinaucinihilipilification — which invited several comments and memes.

Cambridge dictionary states that ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’ is the longest non-technical word, which was first coined in the 18th-century and combines four Latin prefixes meaning “nothing”.

Tharoor has had the reputation of using such difficult-to-pronounce and understand words. In the past, he has stumped people with rarely used English words such as “farrago” and “troglodyte”. While farrago means a confused mixture, a troglodyte means a person regarded as being deliberately ignorant or old-fashioned.

(With inputs from agencies)