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What is the most difficult 45 letter word?

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December 31, 2009 8:54PM

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovalcanikoniosis

definition: A lung desease caused by inhaling valcanic inhabitents (ash)

Also Finnish word epajarjestelmallistyttamattomyydellaansakaankohan

The longest word currently listed in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis with 45 letters. The word was invented by Everett K Smith, President of the National Puzzlers' League at their convention in 1935, from Ancient Greek pneumōn (lung)+Latin ultra (beyond) + English microscopic + silico + volcano + Ancient Greek konis ( dust) + English -osis, meaning A disease of the lungs, caused by inhaling mineral or metallic dust, such as silicon and quartzite. The silicates then lacerate the lining of the lungs, causing the victim to leak air from their lungs while simultaneously bleeding into their lung cavity.

The OED issued the following word of caution regarding such words: "Most of the words which are given as 'the longest word' are merely inventions, and when they occur it is almost always as examples of long words, rather than as genuine examples of use. For example, the medieval Latin word honorificabilitudinitas (honourableness) was listed by some old dictionaries in the English form honorificabilitudinity (22 letters), but it has never really been in use. The longest word currently listed in Oxford dictionaries is rather of this kind: it is the supposed lung-disease pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters). "