No, this isn’t a cheap gimmick to which you could reply with the two-letter word “it”; the longest word in Turkish really is the breathtaking (literally) “muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesinesiniz”.
We asked Euronews journalists to find the longest word in their languages and to say it in front of a camera, which resulted in a few red faces, plenty of bloopers and this video.
The shortest, longest word
Some journalists had an easier job than others, like our Persian journalist; the longest word in his language, meaning “Constantinople”, clocked in at a succinct eight letters.
Shorter, longest words
Measuring in at a close second and third were Arabic (15 letters) and Irish (21 letters).
The longest word in Arabic, roughly translates as the question: “Did we give you the right to use water?” A common misconception is that the nine letter word meaning “so he will save you from them,” is the longest word in the Arabic language, but this is the longest word in the Quran.
The longest word in English
The longest word in the English language really depends on what we consider to constitute a word.
The longest word featured in the Oxford English Dictionary is “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” – a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles.
This word was deliberately invented to be the longest word in English, probably by President of the National Puzzlers’ League Everett M. Smith.
Excluding coined and technical terms (which can be arbitrarily long), the 28-letter word ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ – opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England – is widely considered the longest word for English speakers, although its use is rare".
The longest word in Britain is the Welsh village name “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch”, often, and understandably, shortened to “Llanfair PG”.
Here’s Welsh weather presenter Liam Dutton’s triumphant pronunciation.
The longest words in the Latin languages French, Spanish and Italian all rank in below 30 letters.
The Spanish language’s “electroencefalografista” (23 letters) is “the medical worker that carries out electroencephalograms”, French’s “anticonstitutionnellement” (25 letters), refers to something “not in accordance with the political constitution or with procedural rules”, and Italian’s “precipitevolissimevolmente” (26 letters) is an adverb meaning “as fast as possible”.
Long, but not the longest, words
Portuguese and Danish have impressive 46-letter and 51-letter words respectively.
Tongue-tying “pneumoultramicroscopicossilicovulcanoconiótico” is the longest word in Portuguese. It is a plural noun meaning sufferers of the disease pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, which may be familiar from the English-language category.
The Danish language permits nouns to be joined together meaning words can be arbitrarily long. However, the longest word known to have been used in practice is “Speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode”: A period of time where the planning in a specialist doctor’s practice is stabilised.
It is also theoretically possible to create words of infinite length in Russian, but the 55-character-long “четырехпятидесятисемимиллиметровый” which is the name for a type of arm is widely considered the longest non-scientific term.
According to the Guinness World Records, a 172-letter Greek word that contains a whole recipe is the longest word ever to appear in literature.
The word represents a fictional dish mentioned in Aristophanes’ comedy Assemblywomen.
However, as this word is not used in modern Greek, the 24-character “αλληλοεξουδετερωνόμασταν”, which has the rather intriguing meaning “we are neutralising each other” is widely considered the longest.
The longest, longest word
Now for the real contenders.
As you might expect, the compound nature of the German language gave us the impressive “Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung” – regulation on the delegation of authority concerning land conveyance permissions – weighing in at a hefty 67 characters and according to German-language Bible, the Duden, the language’s longest word.
In fact, the longest word in German is difficult to pin down as there is no limit on the length of compounds and the language allows for users to make their own compounds when a sought-after word doesn’t exist.
This results in the likes of Schauspielerbetreuungsflugbuchungsstatisterieleitungsgastspielorganisationsspezialist (85 letters) and the incredible Neunmilliardeneinhundertzweiundneunzigmillionensechshunderteinunddreißigtausendsiebenhundertsiebzigfache (104 letters), however, these are not included in the Duden.
In at a close second is the Hungarian word “Eltöredezettségmentesítőtleníttethetetlenségtelenítőtlenkedhetnétek”, which is such a mouthful our journalist needed three takes to crack it (and this, we are informed, is impressive!)
Hungarian is an agglutinative language, which means words of over 100 letters are possible, with enough creativity, but the aforementioned is largely recognised as the longest including by Dr Terts István from the “University of Pécs’“https://pte.hu/english Faculty of Letters and Arts, Hungarian Linguistics Department.
Turkish, also an agglutinative language, has the winning, 75-letter word “Muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesinesiniz”, which has the equally head-spinning definition: “You would be from those we can not easily/quickly make a maker of unsuccessful ones.” We are assured it makes sense in Turkish!
So, can you say it?