Languages can be fun and difficult to learn at the same time. Some common challenges faced include getting the spelling right, pronunciation and grammar. When learning a language, one also has to deal with the seemingly insurmountable task of comprehending the thousands of words. Just look at a thick dictionary and you will know the challenges therein.
Things become even more difficult when dealing with complex words or ones that are too long. In English language, the longest word has 189,819 letters. Of course, it won’t be mentioned here, as it will take several pages to publish it. The largest word in English language with 189,819 letters describes the chemical composition of Titin, which is the largest known protein. Second largest word in English language has 1,909 letters. It is essentially the chemical name of E. coli TrpA (P0A877).
However, as these are not usually used and cannot possibly be spoken in a single breath, it’s better to focus on longest words that can at least be remembered, pronounced and spelled right. In that sense, here’s a look at some of the longest words in English language.
Antidisestablishmentarianism (28 letters) – This word relates to a political belief that existed in Britain in 19th century. The word was used to oppose proposals that talked about removing the Anglican Church’s status as the established church in Ireland, England and Wales, excluding Scotland. This word was made popular in 1950s in United States through the popular television show named ‘The $64,000 Question’.
Floccinaucinihilipilification (29 letters) – It is suggested that this word was coined by folks at Eton College. It utilizes a combo of several Latin word stems. It means estimating something as valueless. The word itself has little value, as it is rarely used. It is often used as an example for longest words in English language.
Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (30 letters) – This is a type of inherited disorder that lasts the entire lifetime of the patient in most cases. It’s quite difficult to detect this disorder, as symptoms may be similar to other types of Pseudohypoparathyroidism. Genetic testing that reveals GNAS gene mutation can be used to confirm the diagnosis.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (34 letters) – It may take days to even get to pronounce this right. And since it’s a fictional word, it’s not even clear what’s the right pronunciation. This word was introduced in Mary Poppins, a Disney musical film released in 1964. It is made from a combo of several different words and may not have a clear meaning. The word was coined by Sherman Brothers, an American songwriter duo.
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters) – This is an alternative word or a synonym for silicosis, which is a type of occupational lung disease. It is caused due to inhalation of crystalline silica dust. This word was coined by Everett M. Smith, when he was the president of the National Puzzlers’ League. It has been published in Oxford Dictionaries, so qualifies for being the longest word in English language.