WORD ODDITIES.

I can’t believe I haven’t linked this yet, but I guess I ran across it before I started the blog. Anyway, Jeff Miller’s A Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia is your one-stop shop for, well, word oddities and trivia. Want to know which seven-letter words can be played on a musical instrument? The world’s longest acronym? Some common words which change from one to three syllables upon the addition of just one letter? Sixteen spellings for Hanukkah? Those and many more are on page 1, and there are 19 pages (three of them containing “long words”). The level of obsessiveness can be judged by this bracketed note on page 11:

[Note: To be precisely correct, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest vocabulary entry in any English-language dictionary. Stuart Kidd points out that a longer word actually appears in the OED2, although only as part of a quoted citation for a different word. It is a 75-letter chemical name with numerous hyphens, and it is described on page 13 of this web site. Several other citations in the OED2 include multiple words that are "run together" with or without hyphens, forming "words" of more than 45 letters.]

And these are long pages. Abandon all hope of getting anything productive done in the near future, ye who enter there!


(I was reminded of the site by an Ask MetaFilter question.)

Comments

  1. Well, if we’re talking chemistry, I’m sure I’ve written many a name longer than that, myself. — Some of them may even have been real compounds!
    IUPAC is a wonderful invention, but admittedly much too cumbersome for everyday use. Hence the multitude of supplementary and semisystematic naming schemes.

  2. komfo,amonan says:

    ‘…microscopicsilico…”? That seems ill-formed. Surely it should be ‘…microscoposilico…’, yes? Or is that part of the joke?

  3. It’s ill-formed because it’s a fabricated word, probably a hoax. More on P45 and other ultra-long words here.

  4. mollymooly says:

    The well-known “i18n” for “internationalization” dates from c.1985: how old is the nickname “p45″, which I’ve never heard before? For consistency they should be the same: i18n and p43s, or i20 and p45.

  5. “P45″ has been used in the field of logology (recreational linguistics) since at least 1989. I think it goes back earlier than that, though — possibly in the writings of Dmitri Borgmann.

  6. There’s a ton of this kind of thing in Chinese, but it can’t be brought over.

  7. mollymooly says:

    P45 won’t catch on in UK or Ireland, where it means something else, sadly not factitious.

  8. David Marjanović says:

    pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

    Surely “pneumonoultramicroscopic silicovolcanoconiosis” are two words?
    (Apart from the fact that both words look pretty meaningless…)

  9. It definitely does have an “o” there.

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