English can sometimes be a bit of a handful, even to native speakers, due to its inconsistent spelling and grammar rules. It’s even more confusing when you learn there are words so long that they appear to be nothing more than gibberish at first glance. It should be mentioned though, that some of these words don’t actually appear in the dictionary and were only created with the intention of breaking a world record. So here are five of the longest words found in the English language.
Mary Poppins anyone? Who could ever forget this 34-long word and the great ease with which Julie Andrews pronounced it, while the rest of us struggled with the first half. According to Miss Poppins, the word is defined as “something to say when you have nothing to say.” But technically it should mean something along the lines of “Atoning for educability through delicate beauty.” And the credit for this insanely impressive word goes to none other than songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman. But anyone studying English can tell you it’s totally made up: the sum of the word parts don’t follow proper prefix/suffix placement protocols, such as the prefix “ex-” which should be used only in the beginning of a word.
Now this one has more of a medical background, and it’s the name for an actual type of inherited disorder. People suffering from Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism, resembles someone with Pseudohypoparathyroidism Type 1A, but differ in the sense that they don’t possess a deficiency in calcium or PTH levels. This also marks the general differences between Hypoparathyroidism and the above listed condition, Pseudohypoparathyroidism 1A. This disease is far from a walk in the park and neither is trying to pronounce this 30-letter word.
Despite its intimidating appearance and its 28 letters, antidisestablishmentarianism is a totally legit word that you can find in the dictionary. And unlike supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, its root and affix attachments all follow the rules of English. Now, what exactly does antidisestablishmentarianism mean? Basically, it’s “The movement or ideology that opposes disestablishment,” or in other words, the separation of church and state, such as the similar movement that took place in England during the 1860s.
This 52-letter word, coined by Dr. Edward Strother, has a very specific meaning that can be applied in only a few situations. It was basically put together to describe the spa waters of Bath, England and can be defined as “Equally salty, calcium-rich, waxy, containing aluminum and copper, and vitriolic.” As mentioned earlier, with a definition like that there’s very few situations where you would need to use this word.
Up next is this 45-letter word which at first appeared to be related to volcanoes and its fiery eruptions. In actuality, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis refers to a kind of lung disease that is caused by finely-powdered silica dust. And like antidisestablishmentarianism, it is real and can be found in the dictionary. A similar disease with a much easier name to pronounce would be silicosis. It’s short, simple and straight to the point with only nine letters.
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