Speakers of various languages fight among themselves for the honor of having the longest word in the world. But what is it really? In this article, we will try to solve this famous curiosity once and for all.
The most widespread myth is that the longest word in the world is ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’, which is the opposition to breaking with an established church. This word originated in 19th century England, when a group of people objected to withdrawing their support from the Anglican Church.
The first problem is that those who say that this is the longest word in the world are not looking outside of English. The second problem is that it’s not even the longest word in English; that honor goes to the lung disease called ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’, which has a total of 45 letters.
Since we are in an environment of curiosities, we will add that this disease is caused by the inhalation of very fine silica particles, especially from a volcano.
In search of the true longest word in the world
To find the longest word in the world, we must check other languages; mainly those in which new terms are usually created by joining words, such as German…
Languages that have this quality are called agglutinative languages, and in them you can find some words that are considerably longer than those already mentioned.
Until 2013, the Germans had an excessively long word, 63 letters long. It was about a labeling law for beef called
“Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz”. But when the law disappeared, the Germans took it out of the dictionaries.
As it is an agglutinative language, in German new words can be created through the union of others, and the same happens with Finnish or Estonian. Of course: for the sake of practicality this is not something that is taken too far.
The ultimate answer
The longest recorded word in any language is the chemical name for titin, the largest known protein.
The extension of this word is due to the fact that the chemical names are verbal compositions that include all the components of the protein; and in the case of titin, it is made up of 189,889 letters. In other words, to read it, a person must invest three and a half hours of their time.
The chemical name of tinine begins with “ methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylarginyl… and after three and a half hours of reading it ends with… asparaginylglutaminylglutaminylserxisoleucine”.
The second place
The second longest word in the world is the one in the Guinness Book of World Records because the chemical name of titin is not considered a word by lexicographers.
It is a Sanskrit word that appears in the book Varadāmbikā Pariṇaya Campū of Tirumalāmbā. It has 195 characters and when translated into any language with the Latin alphabet it reaches an average of 428.
The word is this: निरन्तरान्धकारित–दिगन्तर–कन्दलदमन्द–सुधारस–बिन्दु–सान्द्रतर–घनाघन–वृन्द–सन्देहकर–स्यन्दमान–मकरन्द–बिन्दु–बन्धुरतर–माकन्द–तरु–कुल–तल्प–कल्प–मृदुल–सिकता–जाल–जटिल–मूल–तल– मरुवक–मिलदलघु–लघु–लय–कलित–रमणीय–पानीय–शालिका–बालिका–करार–विन्द–गलन्तिका–गलदेला–लवङ्ग–पाटल–घनसार–कस्तूरिकातिसौरभ–मेदुर–लघुतर–मधुर–शीतलतर–सलिलधारा–निराकरिष्णु–तदीय–विमल– विलोचन–मयूख–रेखापसारित–पिपासायास–पथिक–लोकान्
In any case, it can only be translated as a sentence that exactly says:
“In it, the anguish that thirst caused travelers, was alleviated by clusters of rays from the bright eyes of the girls; the rays that shamed the streams of light, cold sweet water charged with the strong fragrance of cardamom, cloves, saffron, camphor and musk and coming out of the pitchers (held) the lotus hands of the maidens (seated) the beautiful dikes, made of thick vetiver roots mixed with marjoram, (and built near) the foot, covered with mounds of soft-as-sofa sand, of the clusters of freshly sprouted mango trees, which constantly darkened the space between the rooms, and which it looked all the more charming because of the droplets of flower juice, thus giving the illusion of a row of thick rainy clouds, densely packed with copious nectar.”
Currently, there are more than 7,000 living and active languages in the world. Of all these, only 23 cover the speech of half of the global population.
The mere fact of being able to speak in more than one language multiplies the possibilities of work and well-being of a person. For this reason, at Lingua Language Center, we invite you to tell us what language you would like to learn. We can give you all the advice you are looking for about our courses .