CreativEcstasy (creativecstasy) wrote in did_you_know,
CreativEcstasy
creativecstasy
did_you_know

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, noun
(NOO-muh-noh-UL-truh-MY-kruh-SKOP-ik-SIL-i-koh-VOL-kay-no-koh-NEE-o-sis, nyoo-)

A lung disease caused by inhaling fine particles of silica.

[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).]

Even though we have included the pronunciation of this word, we advise
caution lest you may have to avail the services of an otorhinolaryngologist
(a throat, nose, and ear 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 synonyms "silicosis" or "black lung" work
just as well, and the latter is more descriptive. Whatever you call it,
it is deadly. Here's the story of an incident:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawk's_Nest_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.
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