Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Subscribe

Archives



Jan 12, 2018
This week’s theme
Long words with short definitions

This week’s words
senectitude
weltanschauung
infundibuliform
floccinaucinihilipilification
pneumonoultramicrosco- picsilicovolcanoconiosis

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
This week’s comments
AWADmail 811

Next week’s theme
Words of nautical origins
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

PRONUNCIATION:
(NOO-muh-noh-UL-truh-MY-kruh-SKOP-ik-SIL-i-koh-vol-KAY-no-KOH-nee-O-sis, nyoo-)

MEANING:
noun: A lung disease caused by silica dust.

ETYMOLOGY:
From New Latin, from Greek pneumono- (lung) + Latin ultra- (beyond, extremely) + Greek micro- (small) + -scopic (looking) + Latin silico (like sand) + volcano + Greek konis (dust) + -osis (condition). Earliest documented use: 1935.

USAGE:
NOTES: Even though we have included the pronunciation of this word, we advise caution lest you may have to avail the services of an otorhinolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist).

At 45 letters, it’s the longest word in any English language dictionary. It’s a trophy word -- its only job is to serve as the longest word. In day-to-day use, its nine-letter synonym “silicosis” works just as well. Whatever you call it, it is deadly. Here’s the story of an incident.

And what’s the shortest word in the English language? There are a number of them: A, I, O, but we’ll have to give it to I which is the skinniest as well. Try defining either of them in fewer letters than the spelling of the word.

USAGE:
“If someone can’t breathe that well, why give the illness a name that they’ll struggle saying in one breath? It can only be so that when a doctor says you have it, it makes you think you’re in safe, intelligent hands. I suppose if they said, ‘Ya lungs are buggered’ you’d be after a second opinion. Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.”
Karl Pilkington; Karlology; DK; 2008.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. -Hermann Göring, Nazi military leader (12 Jan 1893-1946)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2018 Wordsmith