12 Long Words in the English Language

A long word to spell is something like “Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg” which…

A long word to spell is something like “Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg” which refers to a lake in Massachusetts, otherwise known as the Webster Lake.

If you can remember how to spell the long words on this list, you will be the new King and Queen of scrabble!

Medicine and chemistry are the subjects of many of the dictionary’s longest words. There are a few long words defined here and some that you may or may not be familiar with.

Because chemical names can be so long, they pose a dilemma regarding length. With its countless millions of repeating base pairs, naming a single DNA molecule may easily reach over 1 billion letters.

You’ll have a long list of fascinating terms that will make you sound like a sesquipedalian compared to others. Medical terms make up a large percentage of the longest words, we eliminated some of them to broaden the list. Listed here are the ten longest words in the English language. Let’s dive in!

 Medicine and chemistry are the subjects of many of the dictionary's longest words.
12 Long Words in the English Language

Looking for a Long Word to Spell? Check out these 12 Long Words

Looking for a long word to spell? Let’s shock you! A protein’s 189,819-letter chemical name is the longest string of letters utilized to describe something.

It could take up to three-and-a-half hours to pronounce the human protein Titin’s chemical name ‘Methionylthreonylthreonyglutaminylarginyl … isoleucine.’ Here are some other long words to spell and note.

1. Psychotomimetic

Psychotomimetic means causing a psychotic change in conduct or personality.

This word first originated in the 1950s, when mind-altering medicines became increasingly popular. It comes from the words psychotic and mimetic (meaning “imitative”). 

The term was coined because of the word’s negative connotation with psychosis. The focus switched to figuring out how the agent could help broaden the scope of vision or delve deeper into the mind.

2. Tergiversation

Tergiversation is the avoidance of direct action or clear-cut expression.

In addition to tergiversation, the English language has synonyms such as equivocation, vagueness, and prevarication, amongst others, to describe “not exactly telling the truth.” 

Tergiversation, derived from the Latin verb tergiversari (meaning “to display hesitation”), has been used since the 16th century.

3. Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is derived from the combination of New Latin (trich, meaning “hair,” and mania) and Greek (tillein, meaning “to pull, pluck”) etymologies. The term appears to have been coined by a French physician around the close of the 19th century.

In 1896, the term was already defined in medical dictionaries as “an uncontrolled want to pluck off one’s hair.”

4. Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

This is a really long word to spell. The longest entry in the most reputable English dictionaries is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. A lung illness is induced by inhaling extremely fine silicate or quartz particles. 

5. Omphaloskepsis

The term means looking at one’s navel as a way to help with meditation. It also connotes ‘not wanting to move, work, or change.’ A state of inertia.

“Navel” is what omphalos means in Greek, and skepsis means “examination.” Most of us know at least one word from the second of these roots (skeptic or skepticism), but omphalo- words are much less common.

6. Pulchritudinous

If the meaning of this term seems paradoxical, it is likely because its Latin predecessor, pulcher (which means “beautiful”), is unfamiliar. The term pulchritudinous sounds even more repulsive than alluring. 

Since the 15th century, we’ve used ‘pulchritude’ to describe beauty. Pulchritudinous is a more recent addition to our language. 

Its use dates back to the early 18th century. It wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century that the word began to refer to people’s beauty expressly.

7. Xenotransplantation

Xenotransplantation refers to how organs, tissues, or cells can be transplanted between two different species.

The Greek word xeno- means “stranger” or “guest.” Words such as “xenial” (meaning “connected to, or relations between host and guest”) are all derived from this root in English.

Cross-species transplants were attempted in the 17th century but failed. The term “xenotransplantation” was coined in the 1960s, but the process (or attempted practice) dates back hundreds of years. 

Primates’ organs were transplanted into humans in the late 20th century with considerable success. Although the procedure is still experimental and contentious, xenotransplantation has shifted from primates to pigs.

8. Embourgeoisement

This word was first used in the first half of the 20th century. Embourgeoisement refers to a change of bourgeois values and ways of doing things. The term almost always means that the working class has changed, not that the upper class has changed. 

Scholars came up with the word when they noticed that workers started to think and act like people from the middle class. For example, the new bourgeois was less interested in class consciousness and more interested in slow, not radical, societal changes.

9. Myrmecophilous

Myrmecophilous connotes being enthusiastic about, related with, or enriched by the presence of ants.

Scientists use the term “myrmecophilous” to characterize the beneficial associations between ants and other arachnids, including butterflies, beetles, and mites. 

The Greek prefix “myrmec-” signifies “ant” in English. Myrmec-related words in English are derived from Greek and Latin.

10. Polyphiloprogenitive

The word ‘Polyphiloprogenitive’ means extremely prolific, prone to producing offspring, or characterized by a fondness for progeny.

In some cases, progenitive is too short or lacks the multi-affix that the context demands. In situations such as this, poly may be added to the beginning of the word, even though the two terms are equivalent.

11. Impedimenta

Impedimenta simply means obstructive elements. Although impedimenta can also imply “equipment, appurtenances,” it is the meaning “things that obstruct” that makes this word genuinely shine. 

Who among us has not felt burdened by an unnecessary collection of people and things that serve no purpose other than to impede? 

12. Jackasseries

The term ‘Jackasseries’ refers to a jackass’s acts. The solitary version of this word can be described as “doltishness,” and is most common in use. 

We occasionally encounter the plural form. Even when only one jackass is visible, it is likely that others are present and indulging in some form of jackassery or another.

To Wrap Up

Many long words are a hard nut to spell or remember in English. Many of them are not needed in our everyday conversations or writing. However, knowing them helps increase your vocabulary base and make you sound like a real pro. 

Frequently asked questions

12 Long Words in the English Language

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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