Yesterday I wrote about the power of using a few good words. After I posted that, I started to think about how the power of a word has little to do with its letter count.
For instance, in most cases, choosing to use the word “odd” makes more sense than using “phantasmagorical” even though the latter has 13 more letters.
Which got me thinking…
What Is The Longest Word In The English Language?
There is much debate over what the longest word is. The dispute has to do how often the word is actually used and whether or not the word is in the dictionary.
The chemical name of titin, the largest known protein, contains 189,819 letters (Methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylarginyl…isoleucine), but it is just a technical word that is not found in common dictionaries.
The longest word in any of the major English language dictionaries is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, a 45 letter word that refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, specifically from a volcano.
The longest non-technical word in commonly found in dictionaries is floccinaucinihilipilification. 29 letters long, it is defined as “the act of estimating something as worthless.”
When it comes to words that are frequently used in normal text, deinstitutionalization and counterrevolutionaries, each 22 letters long, wear the crown.
One computer study took over a million samples of normal English text and found that the longest word a person will encounter on an everyday basis is uncharacteristically, at 20 letters.
What’s the longest word that you frequently use? Let me know if the comments section below.