Longest words

German’s supposedly longest word in the world’s vocabularies has been considered too much for the German bureaucrats and is being consigned as obsolete.

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

meaning “the law concerning the delegation of duties for the supervision of cattle marking and the labeling of beef’ is 63 letters long.

The Germans are renowned for their love of long words but they are not the only ones who like to create complex compound words as nouns. The Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes coined the 183 lettered

lopado-temacho-selacho-galeo-kranio-leipsano-drim-hupotrimmatosilphio-karabo-melito-katakechumeno-kichl-epikossuphophatto-peristeralektruon-opto-kephallio-kigklo-peleio-lagoio-siraio-baphe-traganopterugon

meaning a dish compounded of all kinds of dainties, fish, fowl and sauces. 

Bulgarian:

neprotivokonstitutsionstvuvatelstvuvayte 

(Bulgarina: 40 letters) something against constitution

Croatian:

prijestolonaslijednikovica 

(Croation: 26 letters) the wife of a heir to the throne

Czech:

nejneobhospodarovávatelnejšími 

(Czech: 30 letters) the less farmed

Danish: 

arbejdsløshedsunderstøttelse 

(28 letters) unemployment benefit

tilpasningsvanskeligheder 

(25 letters) adjustment difficulties

Dutch:

kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamheden 

(Dutch: 48 letters) preparation activities for a children’s carnival procession

English

As for the English language there are somewhat fanciful claims for extremely long words. However, more realistically here are the following in descending length:

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis 

(English: 45 letters) the longest word in a major dictionary, a technical word for a lung disease created by silica dust inhalation

supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 

(English: 34 letters; from the Mary Poppins film and musical with a fanciful defintion)

hippopotomonstrosesquipedalianism 

(English: 33 letters) which means the love of long words

pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism 

(English: 30 letters) the longest noncoined word in a major dictionary for a specific inherited medical disorder

floccinaucinihilipilification 

(English: 29 letters coined in 1741) meaning the categorizing of something that is useless or trivial (the longest unchallenged non-technical word)

antidisestablishmentarianism 

(English: 28 letters) the longest non-coined and non-technical word

Estonian:

raudteeülesõidukoht

(Estonian: 19 letters) train crossing point

Finnish:

lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas

technical warrant officer trainee specialized in aircraft jet engines

käsipyyherullajärjestelmä 

an automatic towel system for drying your hands

peruspalveluliikelaitoskuntayhtymä

a municipality providing basic services

French:

anticonstitutionnellement 

unconstitutionally

German: 

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmütze 

(48 letters) A cap used by a captain on the river of Donau.

Dudelsackspfeifenmachergesellenprüfung 

(38 letters) exam for those who want to become a specialist in making pipes for bagpipes.

Greek: 

υποδηματοεπιδιορθωτήριον  

(24 letters) By mending shoes 

ωτορινολαρυγγολόγος

(19 letters) otolaryngologist (throat-ear-nose specialist) 

ακτινοχρυσοφαιδροβροντολαμπροφεγγοφωτοστόλιστος

(47 letters) dressed in golden-shining, thundering and incandescent clothes

σκουληκομυρμηγκότρυπα

(21 letters) an anthill

Hungarian: 

megszentségtelenithetetlenségeskedéseltekért 

(44 letters) “for your unprofaneable actions”

legmegvesztegethetetlenebbek 

(28 letters) the least corruptible ones

Italian:

precipitevolissimevolmente 

(26 letters) to do something in a hurry

psiconeuroendocrinoimmunologia 

(30 letters) is a discipline that deals with the relationship between the functioning of the nervous system, the immune system and the endocrine system 

Latin:

honorificabilitudinitatibus 

(Latin: 27 letters) the state of being able to achieve honours (the longest word in Shakespeare from Love’s Labour’s Lost)

Lithuanian:

nebeprisikiškiakopusteliaudavome 

(30 letters) we didn't pick rabbit cabbage

Romanian:

otorinolaringologie 

(19 letters) Otorhinolaringology

sternocleidomastoidian 

(22 letters) The sternocleidomastoid muscle is located in the front of the neck

Polish:

konstantynopolitanczykiewiczówna 

(31 letters) a girl living in Constantinople (modern Istanbul)

Portuguese:

Anticonstitucionalissimamente 

of or against the constitution of a state, organization

Serbian:

prestolonaslednikovica 

(Serbian: 22 letters) wife of Crown Prince

Slovenian:

starocerkvenoslovanšcina 

Old Church Slavik Language

Slovak:

najnevypocítavatelnejší

the most difficult example to calculate

Spanish:

Anticonstitucionalmente

The way in which something has been done when it was against the Constitution.

contrarrevolucionario

Person who favors or is part of the counter-revolution.

Swedish:

nordvästersjökustartilleriflygspaningssimulatoranläggningsmaterielunderhåll – suppföljningssystemdiskussionsinläggsförberedelsearbeten

north west sea coastal artillery reconnaissance flight simulator facility equipmentntenance follow-up discussion posts preparatory work

Turkish:

Afyonkarahisarlilardanlarmis 

They are said to belong to the family that came from Afyonkarahisar

Muvaffakiyetsizlestiricilestiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmissinizcesine

As if you would be from those we can not easily/quickly make a maker of unsuccessful ones

Welsh:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

a railway station on the island of Anglesey in Wales


The concept and examples featured on this page have been provided by Adam Jacot de Boinod

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