LONG WORD. A polysyllabic WORD, especially of LATIN or GREEK origin, and often uncommon and difficult to spell or pronounce, such as diuretic or phantasmagorical. People often ask what the longest word in English might be, but the answer depends on what can be accepted as a word. Some chemical combinations have names of over 1,000 letters, but these are usually amalgams of combining elements rather than words as such. The longest word in the 1st edition of the OED is floccinaucinihilipilification (29 letters), ‘the action or habit of estimating something as worthless’, which the Supplement of 1982 topped with the lung disease pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters). See DERIVATION, HARD WORD.
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