Sometimes a picture says a thousand words; sometimes a word says a  thousand letters.  There are a few instances in the English language where  a word is not constructed for the sake of communication so much as to break a  world record, for spectacle’s sake.  In that way, the English language is  much like the Olympics; here are ten words that really go the distance.

Note: the following are words in the non-strictest sense, being that some are  technical terms, some have been coined, while others actually appear in the  dictionary.  Depending on which school of thought you subscribe to, lists  may very on the basis of “what constitutes a word” (and some may argue simply  that letters constitute a word).

Additional note: tying for the #7 spot is the word “hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian.”  It also contains 30 letters.  Let  its omission be justified by saying this list, in and of itself, is  hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian (i.e. “that which pertains to extremely long  words”).

10.  Honorificabilitudinitatibus

This 27-letter word coined by Shakespeare, in his comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost, is  a testament to the Bard’s own intralexiconic skills. Meaning “the state of being  able to achieve honors,” the word is the longest one in the English language  with alternating consonants and vowels (Take a look for yourself….yep.).

9.  Antidisestablishmentarianism

Containing 28-letters, antidisestablishmentarianism is the longest proper  word, consisting of proper and compatible root and affix attachments.   After all the Lego blocks have been snapped together, the word comes to mean “the movement or ideology that opposes disestablishment (i.e. the separation of  church and state, as in the movement that took place in 1860’s England).”  The word has a dated relevance, or else is the greatest living thing in a world  history nerd’s vocabulary.

8.  Floccinaucinihilipilification

This 29-letter word, pieced together from Latin stems, means simply “the  deeming of something to be trivial.”  One letter more than  antidisestablishmentarianism, and just as big of a mouthful, it is a valid  dictionary entry with a usefulness that is much greater than anything it might  be placed beside contextually.  Some readers might even be able to maintain  a floccinaucinihilipilification for this list.

7.  Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism

This 30-letter word is a technical one for a type of inherited disorder.  An individual with such a disorder resembles  someone with Pseudohypoparathyroidism Type 1A, but doesn’t possess a deficiency  in calcium or PTH levels (which mark the essential differences between  Pseudohypoparathyroidism 1A and Hypoparathyroidism).

To put it far more basically, the word is much more fun to say than to  have.

6.  Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

This 34-letter word, which was coined by song-writers Richard and Robert  Sherman in the musical film Mary Poppins, is completely made-up, the sum of word  parts that don’t even follow proper prefix/suffix placement protocol; the “-istic” following “fragil-” is a suffix, which should signify a word’s  end.  However, it is followed by the prefix “ex-,” where a new, separate  word should begin.  Nonetheless, it is just another example of a phrase  being irretrievably carried off by and imbedded within the culture into which it  was born.  Just as how words are invented all the time in rap culture, and  swallowed up by a constantly-evolving (or devolving) language system.

The word, containing definable roots, means something like “Atoning for  educability through delicate beauty.”  Miss Poppins, however, would insist  the word means “something to say when you have nothing to say.”

5.  Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

The term refers to a kind of lung disease caused by a finely-powdered silica  dust.  This word, containing 45 letters, does appear in the dictionary, but  was created primarily just for the sake of a long word.  An equivalent of  what the word is going for, albeit by taking the long way home, is a condition  simply called silicosis.  Any doctor diagnosing the former is obviously getting paid by  the hour.

4.  Aequeosalinocalcalinoceraceoaluminosocupreovitriolic

This 52-letter word was engendered by Dr. Edward Strother in order to  describe spa waters of Bath, England in a single word.  The sum of  individually-meaningful parts, the word altogether means roughly, “equally  salty, calcium-rich, waxy, containing aluminum and copper, and vitriolic.”  Of course this word has very few applications elsewhere.  Unless maybe you  were talking about some kind of 9V-battery-powered robotic chicken wing.

3.   Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelito-katakechymenokichlepikossyphophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoio-siraiobaphetraganopterygon

This word, which shan’t be uttered twice, is a transliteration of a word  coined by Greek author Aristophanes in his comic play Assemblywomen.   Containing 171 letters, it is the longest word appearing in literature and  refers to a fictional dish; the word quite literally is just the smooshing  together of the 17 ingredients contained within (including sharks, pigeons, honey, and various unappetizing animal  parts).  Don’t expect to see this listed on any menu, as there surely  wouldn’t be enough room to list anything else.

2.  Methionylglutaminylarginyltyrosylglutamylserylleucylphenyl- alanylalanylglutaminylleucyllysylglutamylarginyllysylglutamyl- glycylalanylphenylalanylvalylprolylphenylalanylvalylthreonyl- leucylglycylaspartylprolylglycylisoleucylglutamylglutaminyl- serylleucyllysylisoleucylaspartylthreonylleucylisoleucylglutamy- lalanylglycylalanylaspartylalanylleucylglutamylleucylglycylisoleucyl- prolylphenylalanylserylaspartylprolylleucylalanylaspartylglycylproly- lthreonylisoleucylglutaminylaspfraginylalanylthreonylleucylarginy- lalanylphenylalanylalanylalanylglycylvalylthreonylprolylalanyl- glutaminylcysteinylphenylalanylglutamylmethionylleucylalany- lleucylisoleucylarginylglutaminyllysylhistidylprolylthreonylisoleucyl- prolylisoleucylglycylleucylleucylmethionyltyrosylalanylasparaginy- lleucylvalylphenylalanylasparaginyllysylglycylisoleucylaspartyl-glutamylphenylalanyltyrosylalanylglutaminylcysteinylglutamylly-sylvalylglycylvalylaspartylserylvalylleucylvalylalanylaspartylvalyl-prolylvalylglutaminylglutamylserylalanylprolylphenylalanylarginyl-glutaminylalanylalanylleucylarginylhistidylasparaginylvalylalanyl-prolylisoleucylphenylalanylisoleucylcysteinylprolylprolylaspartylalanyl-aspartylaspartylaspartylleucylleucylarginylglutaminylisoleucylalanyl-seryltyrosylglycylarginylglycyltyrosylthreonyltyrosylleucylleucylseryl-arginylalanylglycylvalylthreonylglycylalanylglutamylasparaginyl-arginylalanylalanylleucylprolylleucylasparaginylhistidylleucylvalyl-alanyllysylleucyllysylglutamyltyrosylasparaginylalanylalanylprolyl-prolylleucylglutaminylglycylphenylalanylglycylisoleucylserylalanyl-prolylaspartylglutaminylvalyllysylalanylalanylisoleucylaspartylalanyl-glycylalanylalanylglycylalanylisoleucylserylglycylserylalanylisoleucyl-valyllysylisoleucylisoleucylglutamylglutaminylhistidylasparaginy-lisoleucylglutamylprolylglutamyllysylmethionylleucylalanylalanyl-leucyllysylvalylphenylalanylvalylglutaminylprolylmethionyllysylalanyl-alanylthreonylarginylserine

What you just stared at is the 1913-letter chemical name for tryptophan  synthetase, a protein (an enzyme, to be exact) with 267 amino acids.  Of  course, it’s completely impractical to actually utter this prankster’s approach  to making huge words (the largest one in print), and just looking at it for too  long might even lead you to believe there are words and phrases hidden in there  like a word search (if you look closely the word “party” shows up a few times,  as does something resembling “asparagus”).  Of course, when you  cut-and-paste such a word (rather than risk missing even a single letter, for  accuracy’s sake), you risk looking like an ass by not thoroughly combing through that contrived  brick-o’-letters.

1.  [Titin’s Chemical Name]

This 189,819-letter word shall not be printed in its entirety, partially  because it is literally too big to print (without filling the space of a short  novella that is), and would be a waste of time and hard drive space.  Along  the same lines as the last example, it is a derivation of the chemical  components that comprise the protein; abridged, the word is “Methionylthreonylthreonyl…isoleucine,” really not worth seeing sprawled-out if  for a single-purpose novelty (the only real purpose a chemical name could  possibly serve).

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