PRONUNCIATION: (duhr-mat-uh-GLIF-iks, -muh-tuh-)

MEANING: noun:
1. The ridge patterns of skin on the inner surface of the hands and feet.
2. The scientific study of these skin patterns.

NOTES: It is one of the longest words with no repeated letters. Can you find another one of the same length? Here’s a hint: you can’t copyright it. It’s ‘uncopyrightable’.

ETYMOLOGY: Coined in 1926 by Dr Harold Cummins (1893-1976) from Greek dermato- (skin) + glyphein (to carve). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gleubh- (to tear apart), which is also the source of cleave, glyph, clever, and clove (garlic). And that’s also where we get cleavage, cleft palate, and cloven hooves. Earliest documented use: 1926.

DORMATOGLYPHICS - 1. decoration on a building that provides sleeping quarters for many; 2. the greeting on the mat where you wipe your feet before entering said building

DERMATOGRYPHICS - the skin markings on a half-eagle, half-lion mythical beast

FERMATOGLYPHICS - a pictorial or graphic representation of the Last Theorem
(this one even preserves the no-letters-repeated constraint)