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What's the longest (sensible) word you know?

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Big Al
198763.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:44 am Reply with quote

Hi everybody,

What's the longest (sensible) word you know? My (far too clever) 5 year old has been asking me, this has sparked a debate between my wife and I, we need resolution.

BTW, by sensible I mean not a 1,000,000 character enzyme.

198765.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:49 am Reply with quote

Which may come into currency again!

198766.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:53 am Reply with quote

I always thought that was hyphenated between the 'anti' and 'dis'...



198767.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:54 am Reply with quote


is the longest non technical word i think

Big Al
198771.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:58 am Reply with quote


Now that's a cool word!

198772.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:00 am Reply with quote

That depends entirely on what you mean by "sensible". My main area of interest is science, so a lot of scientific terminology would, in my opinion, be sensible.

According to wikipedia, the longest non-technical word is Floccinaucinihilipilification, and is defined as "the act or habit of estimating or describing something as worthless, or making something to be worthless by deprecation".

The word appeared in a QI episode a while back. IIRC, Jo Brand suggested it as the word which Edison invented. (But we all know that the word is in face "hello").

198773.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:01 am Reply with quote

There you go, happy now?

Actually, the root word 'disestablishment' has entered the public forum again, with regard to the need to remove the sovereign as head of the Church of England, thereby removing the constitutional ban on the sovereign being Roman Catholic.
And all because......

Big Al
198774.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:01 am Reply with quote

Sorry smiley face, no offence meant. Only sensible in the context that I can explain it to a five year old.

198777.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:09 am Reply with quote

Those two words, and a few other contenders (including the 189,919 letter name of a protein usually called Titin), get discussed in post 119482.

(There's an error in that post though. After a bit more research - thread starting at post 180466 - we established that floccinaucinihilipilification probably was constructed as a joke.)

Last edited by suze on Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:13 am; edited 1 time in total

198778.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:09 am Reply with quote

Big Al wrote:
Sorry smiley face, no offence meant. Only sensible in the context that I can explain it to a five year old.

No offence taken. I'd just like to think I have advanced past the mental age of 5 (though I do question that rather too often).

198779.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:12 am Reply with quote


...and I didn't even have to look up the spelling. Its a disease miners get from inhaling too much dust.

198783.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:18 am Reply with quote

No it's not. It's made up. :-P

198786.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:25 am Reply with quote

it does say its made up but aren't all words and since it did appear in the dictionary id say its a legit word

198787.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:27 am Reply with quote

While the word Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis was indeed made up in order to claim the record as the longest English word, the disease is real - it's usually called pneumoconiosis or black lung disease.

198788.  Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:28 am Reply with quote

Yes. But no one actually uses that word. Doctors call the condition either "pneumoconiosis" or "miner's lung".

EDIT: Beaten to it. Though I've heard it referred to as "miner's lung" rather than "black lung", though I suspect both are acceptable.


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