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The longest English word

July 29, 2011

The longest English word.

The longest English Word: The question of determining the longest English word inevitably boils down to defining what is acceptable as a word, since prefix/ suffixes can be adjoined to words to make longer words and because medical/ chemical terms can arbitrarily long. Further , most contenders for the honor of being the longest word are likely to be very rare in actual usage- so rare, in fact that they could be considered nonce words. The most common candidates for the crown, in my opinion , are

Antidisestablishmentarianism ( 28 letters)

Floccinaucinihilipilification (29 letters )
and
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis (45 letter)

The first is the only one of the three that was a not specifically constructed for the purpose of being a very long word. It means opposition to the separation of church and state. The second, meaning the estimation of something as worthless is the longest non technical word in the OED. The letter, supposedly a lung disease, appears to be a semi-serious concoction.

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