Longest words from some European countries

As a bit of fun I thought I´d compile a list of the longest words from several European countries. Long words are great if you can pull them off, albeit without sounding pretentious of like you’re taking the mickey, but below I think we can agree are selection of words that just seem ridiculous. Most of them make sense as they are quite clearly compound words; take for example the English word “antidisestablishmentarianism”. This word can be broken down into its various components “anti” “dis” “establishment” and then “arian”; thus we astutely draw that it means – opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England.

So below we have the crowning jewels of longest word from various countries. (a note that there is much debate to what the actual longest word is from many countries, I’m going for the longest non technical word in each country’s dictionary, the actual longest word is over 180,000 letters long which would take me somewhere close to 40 hours to type it out).

English 29 letters

floccinaucinihilipilification” you might think this word is a joke but it’s certainly not, flocci… means the habit to estimate something as worthless. The components of the word come from Latin and were put together by school boys from Eton!

Italian 26 letters

Precipitevolissimevolmente” this superlative word meaning “in a way like someone/something acts very hastily” is actually grammatically incorrect but as its such a fun word to say its been granted a space in the Italian dictionary.

Spanish 24 letters

electroencefalografista” Spain’s longest word stands at a rather unimpressive 24 letters long in the spectrum of long words but is unusually long for Spanish words which on average tend to be quite short. It means electroencephalograph technicians which is enough to confuse me without trying to pronounce a 24 letter word.

These three words are certainly impressive linguistic feats but here are a few that really get your head spinning:

Finnish 61 letters 

Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppila” is the longest word accepted in the Finnish Dictionary. It means – airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student – in the most literally sense and is apparently used in the Finnish Air Force. Interestingly Finish boasts 3 words over thirty letters long that are often used in every day use!

Germany 79 letters

Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft” this real tongue twister can be roughly translated into about 15 words in English, and is the name of a pre-war Viennese club for subordinate officials of the headquarters of the electrical division. Somewhat unfair that a name of a club constitutes to the longest word but it has been inserted into the dictionary as a true word. Still the longest non created word in German is still the impressive 63 letters long: “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgeset”

 

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