The Longest Word in the World is 183 Letters Long!

The world record for the longest word is a 78-syllable word for a fictitious dish.

Teen holding his hands by his head and announcing interesting news.

(Roher Jegg /

Remember supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from the Mary Poppins movie? Or perhaps you’ve stumbled upon  antidisestablishmentarianism? There is something melodious and intriguing about really, really long words that roll off the tongue. They tickle our brains and they are fun to decode and to drop into casual conversation. 

The longest word in English

The longest word in the English language, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, won primary school speller Jemimah Elise Sampson, the East Coast Radio’s Last Kid Standing title, as seen in the video below published by the East Coast Radio.

But, just because this 45-letter long word, which means a certain type of lung disease, is the longest word in English, doesn’t make it the world’s longest word.

The world’s longest word

That title, the world’s longest word, as per the Guiness Book of World Records goes to the 175 letter long Greek word:


According to Greek City TImes, the English transliteration of the word is a stunning 183 characters. The 78 syllable long word reads:


The video below shows how the word is pronounced.

This word isn’t just a mouthful to say, the definition is literally a mouthful as well. It is defined as  the “name of a dish compounded of all kinds of dainties, fish, flesh, fowl, and sauces.”

These “kinds of dainties” were a weird motley of foods, including rotted dogfish, giant fennel, wood pigeon, a roasted dabchick’s head, new wine and eleven other eclectic items.

It made its debut in classic Greek playwright Aristophanes’s comedy “Assembly Women,” where the smashing combination of syllables and sounds had the desired comedic effect.

Other contenders for the title

Yet, Greek isn’t the only language to boast hundred-character-long words.  For example, Cudoo’s blog lists an 173 letter long Polish word:  “dziewięćsetdziewięćdziesiątdziewięćmiliardówdziewięćsetdziewięćdziesiątdziewięćmilionówdziewięćsetdziewięćdziesiątdziewięćtysięcydziewięćsetdziewięćdziesięciodziewięcioletni.” The word translates to “999,999,999,999 years old”

Afrikaans longest word: “tweedehandsemotorverkoopsmannevakbondstakingsvergaderingsameroeperstoespraakskrywerspersverklaringuitreikingsmediakonferensieaankondiging,”
isn’t any easier to say when translated.  The 136 letter long word means “issuable media conference’s announcement at a press release regarding the convener’s speech at a second-hand car dealership union’s strike meeting.”

This word in English, Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, although it clocks in at “only” 36 letters, makes the list because of its ironic meaning. According to Your Dictionary, the word means “fear of really really long words.” 

Morphemes and meaning

So why do some languages have comedically long words, like the 40- letter-long German word, Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften, which, according to The Week, means "insurance companies providing legal protection," and is pronounced like this?

In the video below, YouTuber Tom Scott explains the phenomenon. A morpheme is the smallest unit that has meaning. So, a word like “inconceivable” has three morphemes “in”, “conceive” and “able”, with some morphemes  taking the roles of prefixes or suffixes.

In languages that are polysynthetic, words consist of morphemes “glued” together into a single word. Sometimes these words contain dozens of morphemes that can’t be used as standalones, forming single words that express sentence long ideas.

By contrast, in analytic languages, like Chinese and Vietnamese, morphemes are standalone with each acting as its own word. That means that words tend to be only one syllable long. These languages  are good languages for those with hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia to learn

At the end of the day, the goal of language is to communicate and to express our thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires. And if we can accomplish this with our words, it doesn’t matter if we do so in 100 characters or in three.