Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis: The Longest Word in the English Language


The  longest word in the English language depends upon the definition of what constitutes a word as well as how length should be compared. In addition to words derived naturally from the language’s roots (without any known intentional invention), English allows new words to be formed by coinage and construction; place names may be considered words; technical terms may be arbitrarily long.

The longest word in any of the major English language dictionaries is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, a word that refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, specifically from a volcano. Medically, it is the same as silicosis. The word was deliberately coined in 1935 by Everett M. Smith, president of the National Puzzlers’ League to be the longest word in the English language. This 45-letter word, referred to as P45, first appeared in the 1939 supplement to the Merriam-Webster New International Dictionary, Second Edition.  Read more… Hear it spoken…