Have you ever wondered about the longest word in the English language? I grew curious after I heard the word lymphosarcoma. Actually, Amitabh Bachhan of Bollywood famously diagnosed Rajesh Khanna with ‘lymphosarcoma of the intestine’ in a touching Bollywood movie called ‘Anand’. That’s how I came to know about lymphosarcoma.
It turns out that the longest word in the English language depends upon what words form part of your investigation. Are you including only such words that are derived naturally from the language’s roots? Are you allowing words that have been formed by coinage and construction? Are you considering place names and technical terms? Now, technical terms can be as long as you want. Also, the units of measurement can even differ. Length can be measured by the number of written letters in a word or the number of phonemes in that word.Here is a table giving out longest words with various criteria of measure:
Let’s take the longest nontechnical coined word, floccinaucinihilipilification. (I chose this criterion because technical words can be as long as you wish, for eg, zzzzzzyyyyyyxxxxxyyyyyyyyuuuuttttttttppppppp, etc)Do you know what floccinaucinihilipilification means? I didn’t till I found out from wiki. It means ‘estimation of something as worthless’. Well, if a 29 letter word ‘estimates something as worthless’ then the appropriate synonym for such a word would be makeamountainoutaofamolehill.
I am sure you know the shortest word(s) in English. I … a … burrrrp, excuse me, needn’t burp it out.