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pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

[ noo-muh-noh-uhl-truh-mahy-kruh-skop-ik-sil-i-koh-vol-key-noh-koh-nee-oh-sis, nyoo- ]
/ ˈnu mə noʊˌʌl trəˌmaɪ krəˌskɒp ɪkˈsɪl ɪˌkoʊ vɒlˌkeɪ noʊˌkoʊ niˈoʊ sɪs, ˈnyu- /
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noun
an obscure term ostensibly referring to a lung disease caused by silica dust, sometimes cited as one of the longest words in the English language.
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Origin of pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

Words nearby pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis mean?

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a term for a lung disease caused by inhaling silica dust, as in I had trouble breathing and my doctor diagnosed me with pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

While pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is an actual medical term, most people will never hear a doctor (attempt to) say this absurdly long word.

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is an obscure term that some people claim to be one of the longest words in the English language. At an astounding 45 letters long, this massive word is longer than other ludicrously huge words, such as antidisestablishmentarianism and floccinaucinihilipilification.

The tendency to use long words like pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is called sesquipedalianism. If you have some sesquipedalian tendencies yourself, you might enjoy our article “The Longest Words in the English Language.”

Example: I watched a comedy show where the host asked an eighth grader to spell “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.”

Where does pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis come from?

The first records of pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis come from around 1935. According to many sources, it was coined by Everett Smith, who at the time was the president of the National Puzzlers League.

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a New Latin word made up of five parts. The combining form pneumono- means “lung.” The word ultramicroscopic refers to something so small that it can’t be seen by normal microscopes. Silica is a material often found in sand and flint. A volcano is a vent in the earth’s crust that expels ash, lava, and silica. Pneumoconiosis is a general term for a chronic lung disease. Putting it all together, you get a very long word that refers to a lung disease caused by silica (which can be found in a volcano).

So, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis the longest word in the English language? If you look in a dictionary, this monstrous word is likely to be the longest of any you will find. By this metric, most consider this behemoth of a word to be the longest in the English language. If you don’t disqualify scientific names, however, there is a word that is much, much longer.

The protein titin is the largest protein found in the body and is made of tens of thousands of amino acids. In science, a protein’s name is made by combining the name of every amino acid it is made of. This means that titin’s full scientific name is over 180,000 letters long and takes over three hours to say out loud!

Did you know ... ?

What are some words that share a root or word element with pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?

What are some words that often get used in discussing pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?

How is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis used in real life?

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is often said to be the longest English word.

Try using pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis!

True or False?

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a name for a disease that affects the lungs.

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