We’ll start with some words you can actually pronounce and descend into a jumble and clutter of consonants, along with vowels that don’t seem much help in sorting it out.
Hopefully our readers don’t have hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (a fear of long words).
7. Honorificabilitudinitatibus: 27 letters
Definition: Deserving of honor or respect. It is the longest word in Shakespeare’s works. Interestingly, vowels and consonants alternate through the whole word.
6. Antidisestablishmentarianism: 28 letters
Definition: “Opposition to the withdrawal of state support or recognition from an established church, especially the Anglican Church in 19th-century England,” according to Dictionary.com.
5. Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis: 45 letters
Definition: A lung disease caused by silica dust. It is considered the longest word in English.
4. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch: 59 letters
Definition: A large village in Wales, UK It is also known by its shorter-version names: Llanfair PG or Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.
Here’s how to pronounce it:
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a village community in Wales. (Wikimedia Commons)
3. Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz: 65 letters
German beef. (Shutterstock)
Definition: A German word meaning “law delegating beef label monitoring.” It is actually no longer a word, made obsolete last year when the laws changed.
German has some very long words with very specific meanings that are used so infrequently they are not included in dictionaries. The longest word in German dictionaries is Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung, meaning “automobile liability insurance.”
Definition: Tobacco Mosaic Virus, a Dahlemense strain. Chemistry terms, like German words, tend to pile up into mega-words. Apparently Guinness World Records did not count this technical chemistry term among the contenders for the longest word in the world.
1. The Longest Word in the World:
(195 Sanskrit characters transliterating to 428 letters in the Roman alphabet)
A word describing the region near Kanci, Tamil Nadu, India. It is the longest word in the world, according to Guinness World Records. (Screenshot/Hellenisteukontos.blogspot.com)
Definition: This word describes the region near Kanci, Tamil Nadu, India. It appears in a 16th-century work by Tirumalãmbã, Queen of Vijayangara. This word holds the Guinness World Record for the longest word in the world.
An amateur translator, with the help and edits of other amateur translators, worked out the following translation in a blog post:
“In it, the distress, caused by thirst, to travellers was alleviated by clusters of rays of the bright eyes of the girls; the rays that were shaming the currents of light, sweet and cold water charged with the strong fragrance of cardamom, clove, saffron, camphor and musk and flowing out of the pitchers (held in) the lotus-like hands of maidens (seated in) the beautiful water-sheds, made of the thick roots of Andropogon muricatus mixed with marjoram, (and built near) the foot, covered with heaps of couch-like soft sand, of the clusters of newly sprouting mango trees, which constantly darkened the intermediate space of the quarters, and which looked all the more charming on account of the trickling drops of the floral juice, which thus caused the delusion of a row of thick rainy clouds, densely filled with abundant nectar.”
*Image of a puzzled man reading via Shutterstock