English : Longest Words



What are the Longest Words in the dictionary?

By Mr. Mathu, Sri Lanka - 9th July-2007.

The longest word listed in a dictionary is usually a disease. That word that we have come across is:

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis.

It is a word containing 45 letters! Please don't ask me how you pronounce it! If you come across a longer word, please do let me know.

Here is another example of a Long Word which contains 34 letters.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Besides, We do have genuine examples in our files.

Ther are:

Antidisestablishmentarianism (28 letters) and Floccinaucinihilipilification(29 letters)

These words are listed in some of our larger dictionaries. Other words (mainly technical ones) recorded in the complete Oxford English Dictionary includes:

otorhinolaryngological (22 letters)
immunoelectrophoretically (25 letters)
psychophysicotherapeutics (25 letters)
thyroparathyroidectomized (25 letters)
pneumoencephalographically (26 letters)
radioimmunoelectrophoresis (26 letters)
psychoneuroendocrinological (27 letters)
hepaticocholangiogastrostomy (28 letters)
spectrophotofluorometrically (28 letters)
pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (30 letters)
Triskaidekaphobia (17 letters)

Most of those words are merely inventions and when they occur it is almost always as examples of long words, rather than as genuine examples of use.

For example, the medieval Latin word honorificabilitudinitas (honourableness) was listed by some old dictionaries in the English form honorificabilitudinity (22 letters), but it has never really been in use.

In Voltaire's Candide, Pangloss is supposed to have given lectures on metaphysico-theologo-cosmonigology (34 letters). In Thomas Love Peacock's satirical novel Headlong Hall (1816) there appear two high-flown nonce words (one-off coinages) which describe the human body by stringing together adjectives describing its various tissues. The first is based on Greek words and the second on the Latin equivalents.

They are osteosarchaematosplanchnochondroneuromuelous (44 letters) and osseocarnisanguineoviscericartilaginonervomedullary (51 letters) which translate roughly as of bone, flesh, blood, organs, gristle, nerve and marrow.

  • Longest Words in The Dictionary

    Some editions of the Guinness Book of Records mention praetertranssubstantiationalistically (37 letters) used in Mark McShane's Untimely Ripped (1963) and aequeosalinocalcalinoceraceoaluminosocupreovitriolic (52 letters) attributed to Dr Edward Strother (1675-1737).

    The formal names of chemical compounds are almost unlimited in length (for example, aminoheptafluorocyclotetraphosphonitrile - 40 letters), but longer ones tend to be sprinkled with numerals, Roman and Greek letters and other arcane symbols. Dictionary writers tend to regard such names as verbal formulae rather than as English words.

    Reading this list is a great fun, while expanding your vocabulary at the same time. It is meant to help to improve the vocabulary of the visitors, the students (who are preparing for various examinations), the authors, journalists, literati and all other people who are interested in improving their language skills.

    So enjoy this list and then get around for preparing your own list of words. There is no better way of boosting your words power. The most effective way to build your vocabulary is described in the page on Word Power. Educational research has discovered that your I.Q. is intimately related to your Word Power. Take a standard Vocabulary test and then an intelligent test, the result in both will be substantially the same. The more extensive your vocabulary, the better your chances of success, other things being equal- success in attaining your educational goals, success in moving ahead in your business or professional career, success in achieving your intellectual potential.

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