In today’s world, some of us may naturally gravitate towards shorter words. After all, the shorter the word, the easier it is to type on your phone. Short and pithy may be a convenient form for most of us, but tongue twisters deserve a place in our linguistic lexicon, too. Have you ever considered what the longest words are? Let’s take a look at a few—and if you decide to tackle the last one, take a video and let us know about it!
PriceWaterhouseCoopers really does spell their name like that, clocking in at 22 characters. Not sure why they didn’t just go for some nice spacing and 24 characters, but they can put that thought in their unwanted-layout-related-advice file.
Not the word, exactly, but the item. That would be dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or as it’s known by the easier to pronounce abbreviation, DDT. Agricultural use of the chemical was banned back in 1973.
Our winner is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. We define it as a lung disease caused by silica dust (but also as a word sometimes cited as one of the longest in the English language). Be careful around that dust, and you won’t ever need to pronounce it.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a town in Wales. It reportedly means “Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio near the red cave.” We can just imagine the road signs. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, 100km.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is the winner here as you might expect. Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews do the honors:
Let’s take a dip into Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. Seriously. That’s 45 characters! It also goes by Lake Chaubunagungamaug and Lake Webster, and is located in Webster, Massachusetts.
A tip of the blue Dictionary.com cap to Mental Floss for this one. The 11-letter AEIOU word is abstentious, which means you don’t indulge to excess (a variant of the word abstain).
If you happen to find yourself hiking in New Zealand (it could happen!) don’t miss the hill Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. Here’s how to pronounce it! The website 7 Objects says “it is a Māori language word with the English translation ‘The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.’” So, there you go. Who knew a nose flute would be involved?
No, this one isn’t in Dictionary.com—there aren’t enough people who need to look it up (or that have the patience to type it out). The chemical name for the protein titin has 189,819 characters and takes approximately three and a half hours to pronounce. Geekologie provides this .txt webpage with the full word on it. Now you have a choice. You can go watch grass grow, or watch this fellow speak the entire word in a monotone drone.
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