View previous topic | View next topic

Words

Page 1 of 1

joefoxon1
504184.  Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:47 pm Reply with quote

How many letters does the longest word have?

Forfeit: 45, 47, any other numbers in that area.

Answer: There is a Swedish word with 130 letters.

 
bobwilson
504186.  Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:49 pm Reply with quote

The longest word in English is smiles - there's a mile between the two s's.

 
joefoxon1
504189.  Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:50 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
The longest word in English is smiles - there's a mile between the two s's.


marathons - there is 26 miles 385 yards before the s.

 
bobwilson
504193.  Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:51 pm Reply with quote

elastic - you can make it as long as you like

 
Moosh
504211.  Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:17 pm Reply with quote

joefoxon1 wrote:
How many letters does the longest word have?

Forfeit: 45, 47, any other numbers in that area.

Answer: There is a Swedish word with 130 letters.


The trouble with saying "longest word" and not qualifying it is that anyone can make up an arbitrarily long word, give it a definition and it'll be just as valid as your answer.

 
joefoxon1
504212.  Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:18 pm Reply with quote

The longest dictionary listed word?

 
Moosh
504214.  Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:22 pm Reply with quote

Which dictionary? I bet that Swedish word isn't in the OED.

Again, it's possible to write your own dictionary, even to self-publish it if you want to restrict it to published dictionaries. To say "longest word" you're going to have to restrict it to stated languages.

 
joefoxon1
504216.  Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:25 pm Reply with quote

It doesn't say which dictionary, that is the loophole that is used to come up with the Swedish word.

 
suze
504222.  Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:52 pm Reply with quote

Ultimately the question is meaningless - as we've been discussing on another thread, there is no one definition of "word" which will please everyone.

The longest word currently allowed the status of a headword in the OED is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters). But it's a nonsense word. It was made up specifically so that it could get into dictionaries as the longest word; doctors who actually have to deal with that medical condition call it pneumoconiosis.

You'll do well to beat 189,819 letters in any language though - that is the length of the full systematic name of a protein usually known as titin. Unfortunately, Wiki has decided that the full name may not be shown there, a move which has been rather controversial. But at present, it can be seen here.

Is that a word? There is no general consensus, but the chemistry community tends to think not.

 
joefoxon1
504228.  Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:00 pm Reply with quote

This Swedish word is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest word in the world.

 
Jenny
504711.  Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:31 pm Reply with quote

When I was at school, our German teacher taught us that ein Hottentottenpotentatentantentotenattentater was the German for somebody who assassinates an African chieftain's aunt. Whether this is true or not I have no idea, but I do like the word. There may be a couple of umlauts missing.

 
joefoxon1
505564.  Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:42 pm Reply with quote

It isn't real.

 
Jenny
505580.  Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:50 pm Reply with quote

Well it's the same school your email address is registered at, so I hope the German department is better than it used to be in the 1960s!

 
joefoxon1
506020.  Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:46 am Reply with quote

1960s? It could have been real then, but no longer in the dictionary.

 
Jenny
506107.  Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:23 am Reply with quote

<feels antique>

 

Page 1 of 1

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group