A guide to pronunciation and daily use

I have used this word, if not in actual conversation, at least in training technical support call handlers in good customer service. It is fairly well-known that tech support people refer to their customers in less than flattering, if not disparaging terms, idiot and luser being lesser (and cleaner) examples.

Given the meaning of the word, namely "the act or habit of estimating as worthless", I've been very successful when persuading trainee support staff to take their customer service more seriously.

My take during the training is this: their jobs exist as a result of the users, making the customer the most important person in their universe. As a consequence, they should not "estimate as nothing" anyone they deal with on the phone. In addition, many of the end-users have skills and knowledge which the techies lack, yet the customer rarely sees the technician as an idiot.

During the customer service sessions, I introduce the word first, and then the concept, and in my more sadistic moments, ask people to attempt to pronounce it. For those interested in the dismal minutae, my pronunciation key is:

flock see - now see - knee-hilly - pilly - fickay-shun

It may also interest you to know that there is a longer word in some dictionaries, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. No, I've never used it.

and Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, but we don't talk about that.

grundoon says Did you know I used to have this floccinaucinihilipilification up on my wall (the whole w/u) at the Presidio? I used your pronunciation guide. But if I do it, does that make me a floccinocinihilipilificatrix?