Did you know that the longest word in the world according to the Guinness World Records is a 195-character long Sanskrit compound word? This word describes a region near Kanci, Tamil Nadu, India, and it seemed to appear in a 16th-century literature work by Tirumalāmbā, Queen of Vijayanagara.
But what about the longest European words in the world? I know that there are 24 official languages in the EU with more than 60 minority languages, but we will be covering the longest words from twelve of the most common European languages in ascending order.
While reading this article, you will find out that some words portray the complex nature of the languages they belong to while some directly reflect the history of the country or even literature. But you’ve got to read on to find out more!
We certainly hope you don’t suffer from Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (the fear of long words). So to ease you into it, we’re starting things off with our honorable mention from Wales: the town of “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch”
12. Spanish – Electroencefalografistas | 24 letters
The longest Spanish word is called “Electroencefalografistas” consisting of 24 letters. It is a plural form of “Electroencefalografista,” which can be translated as “Electroencephalographer” in English. It means a technician who specializes in Electroencepaholography – a method to record the electrical activity of the brain.
But, some people might pull your leg and say that the longest word in Spanish actually is “Arroz” (rice) because it ends with an ‘A’ and ends with a ‘Z.’
11. Greek – Ηλεκτροεγκεφαλογραφήματος | 25 letters
“Ηλεκτροεγκεφαλογραφήματος” (ilektroegkefalografímatos) which means “of an encephalogram,” is the longest modern word in Greek with a total of 25 characters.
The longest ancient Greek word ever written is a 173-letter word coined by Aristophanes, a comic playwright during ancient Athen times. It is the name of a fictional dish which appeared in one of his comedies written in 391 BC, called Assemblywomen.
Since we couldn’t find its Greek script, here it is in Latin letters: Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelitokatakechymenokichlepikossyphophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoiosiraiobaphetraganopterygon.
10. French – Anticonstitutionnellement | 25 letters
With 25 characters in length, “Anticonstitutionnellement” is usually considered to be the longest French word, which is an adverb meaning “anti-constitutionally” in English.
However, some suggest that the longest non-technical French word actually is “intergouvernementalisations” with 27 letters in total.
9. Italian – Precipitevolissimevolmente | 27 letters
Coined in 1677 by poet Francesco Moneti, “Precipitevolissimevolmente” is known as the longest known Italian word which is pretty popular as a tongue twister. It generally means “very quickly,” but because of its grammatically-incorrect structure, it is rarely used in daily conversations.
1) Realisationsvinstbeskattning | 28 letters
The longest Swedish word listed in Svenska Akademiens Ordlista (SAOL), the official dictionary published by the Swedish Academy, is “Realisationsvinstbeskattning.” With 28 letters in length, this word stands for “capital gains taxation,” and it can also be shortened to “Reavinstskatt,” which has the same meaning.
2) Spårvagnsaktiebolagsskensmutsskjutarefackförenings-personalbeklädnadsmagasinsförrådsförvaltarens | 96 letters
But like some other European languages, Swedish words can be mashed up, and stacked up as far as the Swedish grammar allows to create extremely lengthy agglutinative words.
One very popular example of a non-technical agglutinative Swedish word is “Spårvagnsaktiebolagsskensmutsskjutarefackförenings-personalbeklädnadsmagasinsförrådsförvaltarens” (96 letters) which means “The manager of the depot for the supply of uniforms to the personnel of the track cleaners’ union of the tramway company.”
7. Polish – Konstantynopolitańczykowianeczka | 33 letters
The most famous term accepted by almost everyone as the longest Polish word is “Konstantynopolitańczykowianeczka” which can be translated into “unmarried daughter of a man from Constantinople.” This is a pretty old-fashioned word because Constantinople is nowadays known as “Istanbul.”
However, there are several compound Polish words that can be written into a single word to represent numbers, and the length can go up to 176 letters or even longer. But then, they will not be used in daily conversations because of its complexity like “Dziewięćsetdziewięćdziesiątdziewięćmiliardówdziewięćsetdziewięćdziesiątdziewięć-milionówdziewięćsetdziewięćdziesiątdziewięćtysięcydziewięćsetdziewięć-dziesięciodziewięcioletniego” (meaning “of 999,999,999,999 years old”).
Our honorable mention here is “Grzegorz Brzęczyszczykiewicz”, a name that appears in the Polish cult movie How I Unleashed World War II when a Polish prisoner pretends to be thus named in order to thwart the Nazi officer who has to keep track of prisoners’ identities.
6. Ukrainian – Нікотинамідаденіндинуклеотидфосфат | 34 letters
Although it is quite challenging to pinpoint the longest word of the Ukrainian language, “Нікотинамідаденіндинуклеотидфосфат” is often referred to as one. Containing a total of 34 characters, it is the Ukranian chemical term for “Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate.”
However, the length of Ukrainian words can potentially go endless by adding more words to the base phrase.
5. Romanian – Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcaniconioză | 44 letters
Made up of 44 letters, “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcaniconioză” is the longest word in the Romanian Language. It can be translated to
“Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” which is also regarded as one of the longest words in English.
1) Antidisestablishmentarianism | 28 letters
The longest English word which is neither coined nor technical is “Antidisestablishmentarianism” which consists of 28 letters. It originally described the political movement against ending the Church of England’s status as the official church of the United Kingdom.
2) Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis | 45 letters
Coined by Everett M. Smith, president of the National Puzzlers’ League in 1935, this word is considered to be the longest invented English word according to the Oxford English dictionary. Also known as Silicosis, it is the name of a lung disease caused by inhalation of very fine ash and sand dust from the volcano.
3) Floccinaucinihilipilification | 29 letters
At 29 letters, “Floccinaucinihilipilification” is the longest non-technical coined word in the English language, which means “the action or habit of estimating something as worthless.”
“Hottentottententententoonstellingsterrein,” which means “exhibition ground for Hottentot soldiers’ tents,” is often cited as the longest Dutch word. However, it is also often argued that the longest Dutch word title belongs to “kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamhedenplan” which has 53 letters in it. It means “preparation of activities for a kid’s carnival procession.”
At the same time, there is a 38-letter word “meervoudigepersoonlijkheidsstoornissen” for “Multi Personality Disorders,” which is the longest word mentioned in the leading Dutch Dictionary called Van Dale.
However, it is very tough to determine the longest Dutch Word. Because it is an agglutinative language, there are infinite ways to form new complex words just by stacking up more and more words to the original phrase.
In the Finnish language, words are as complicated as other agglutinative languages such as Swedish, Polish, Dutch and German. It is also very debatable when it comes to choosing the longest Finnish word.
1) Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas | 61 letters
Nonetheless, let’s start it off with an actual Finnish military term Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas which has a total of 61 letters. As exhausting as it seems in the Finnish language, its English definition is not simple either. When translated, it means “airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student.”
2) Epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydellänsäkäänköhän | 48 letters
The word Epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydellänsäkäänköhän is also claimed to be the longest non-compound Finnish word with 48 letters in total. This word has 13 characters less than the previous word, and its meaning can be translated to English as either “I wonder if – even with his/her quality of not having been made non-systematized,” or “not even through the lack of one’s own ability to delegate to someone the act of making something non-systemic, do you suppose?”
No matter which definition is right, it seems to me like translating this Finnish word wouldn’t make things easier to understand too.
3) Kumarreksituteskenteleentuvaisehkollaismaisekkuudellisenneskenteluttelemattomam-muuksissansakaankopahan | 102 letters
Created by a linguist called Antturi Kannisto, this 102 characters-long word – Kumarreksituteskenteleentuvaisehkollaismaisekkuudellisenneskenteluttelemattomammuuk-sissansakaankopahan made its way to the glorious list of the longest words in the Finnish language. It is, however, meaningless since it is made up of a bunch of affixes.
1. German – Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft | 80 letters
Made up of 80 characters in total, “Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft“ is currently the longest published word in the German Language. It represents the name of the club for subordinate officials of the headquarters of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Service Company, called Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft. It’s still discussed whether this company actually existed or if the word was just made up.
Previously, “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” was known as the longest German word with 63 characters in length until 2013. It is a phrase to refer to the “law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling.”
This word was introduced in 1999 and dropped out of the ranking in June 2013 due to the change in EU regulation on the testing of cattle. The local government where this law was introduced actually burst out laughing the first time they heard it. It was even surpassed by another law, the “Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung” with 67 letters (from 2003 to 2007). Read more about it in our blog post about German compound words.
Now, all fun aside, why is this important for your iGaming content? As we’ve explained in our article about multilingual website requirements , it’s important to watch out for the content/text lengths throughout different languages to be consistent with your website design. Since different languages have different average word lengths, it could become difficult for iGaming content writers and translators to keep an exact character count.
For example, Wilhelm Fucks (yes, that’s his real name) states the different average word lengths by syllables in his book “Nach allen Regeln der Kunst. Diagnosen über Literatur, Musik, bildende Kunst – die Werke, ihre Autoren und Schöpfer,” as you can see in the table below:
Although you are probably not using any of the longest words above on your iGaming website, it is still important to cater to your international audience’s different languages’ needs.
So, since we know you are curious since the beginning, here’s the Sanskrit word, we’ve talked about:
It’s written in the Devanagari script and appears in the Varadāmbikā Pariṇaya Campū by Tirumalāmbā. As it’s composed of 195 Sanskrit letters, it is the longest word ever to appear in worldwide literature.
It looks even more impressive in its IAST transliteration with 428 letters (dashes excluded):
The approximate meaning of this word is:
“In it, the distress, caused by thirst, to travellers, was alleviated by clusters of rays of the bright eyes of the girls; the rays that were shaming the currents of light, sweet and cold water charged with the strong fragrance of cardamom, clove, saffron, camphor and musk and flowing out of the pitchers (held in) the lotus-like hands of maidens (seated in) the beautiful water-sheds, made of the thick roots of vetiver mixed with marjoram, (and built near) the foot, covered with heaps of couch-like soft sand, of the clusters of newly sprouting mango trees, which constantly darkened the intermediate space of the quarters, and which looked all the more charming on account of the trickling drops of the floral juice, which thus caused the delusion of a row of thick rainy clouds, densely filled with abundant nectar.”
And to make things worse or better, if you’re feeling adventurous and have a few hours to spare, start pronouncing the protein Titin with its 189,819 characters in its original form here.
Let us know how long you took. It should be around 1 to 3.5 hours…
Header Image Source: Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash
How did you like May Thawdar Oo’s blog post? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂