[...] for whatever the world might esteem in poor Somervile, I really find, upon critical enquiry, that I loved him for nothing so much as his flocci-nauci-nihili-pili-fication of money.
William Shenstone, letter (1741); anthologized in The Works, in Verse and Prose, of William Shenstone, Esq, vol. III (1769), p. 49
From what I hear, the poor man is not sensible of the nature of his own situation; for myself, I have succeeded in putting the matters perfectly out of my mind since I cannot help them, and have arrived at a flocci-pauci-nihili-pili-fication of money, and I thank Shenstone for inventing that long word.
A slaughtered crew, a sunken ship, and my collections destroyed—these do not weigh at all against their punctilios. There is a systematic flocci-naucinihili-pilification of all other aspects of existence that angers me. I spend half my time purging them, bleeding them, prescribing low diet and soporifics. They eat far too much, and drink far too much, especially JD.
"Sharpie darling, you are a floccinaucinihilipilificatrix."
"Is that a compliment?"
"Certainly! Means you're so sharp you spot the slightest flaw."
I kept quiet. It was possible that Zebadiah meant it as a compliment. Just barely— "Maybe I'd better check it in a dictionary."
"By all means, dear-after you are off watch." (I dismissed the matter. Merriam Microfilm was all we had aboard and Aunt Hilda would not find that word in anything less than the O.E.D.)
They happen to produce huge billion dollar differences over seven years in the federal budget, which is why they become fairly incendiary as the debate goes along. But if you—as a practical matter of estimating the economy, the difference is not great. There's a little bit of floccinaucinihilipilification going on here.
Griffy: Do you think I may be too quick to find fault with things & people, Zippy? Zippy: Yeh. Th' "floccinaucinihilipilification" process. Griffy: Th' what? Zippy: Floccinaucinihilipilification!! … It means "the estimation of something as valueless"! Griffy: You've been randomly reading th' dictionary, haven't you? Zippy: Yes... that and my natural tendency toward antifloccinaucinihilipilification!!