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What does pneumonoultramicroscopicsilico-volcanoconiosis mean?

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December 04, 2010 9:25PM

(The entire word will not display in either the question box or answer unless a hyphen is used.)

It is a lung disease, similar to 'black lung' usually acquired by miners. It is caused by extremely microscopic silica getting into the lungs. Literally the word means: 'a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust usually found in volcanoes'.

The term (more simply called pneumoconiosis, related to silicosis) is

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilico-volcanoconiosis (no hyphen)

and was created in 1935 to be 'the world's longest English word".