So, do they go throught the dictionary one by one, or what?
November 25, 2003 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Word Oddities - did you know Honorificabilitudinitatibus, 27 letters long, is the longest English word consisting strictly of alternating consonants and vowels? You do now. Click the link for more fun facts about words.
posted by Orange Goblin (17 comments total)
"facetious" is one of 2 words that have each vowel, only once, in alphabetical order. Wish I could remember what the other one is..
posted by Pericles at 10:23 AM on November 25, 2003

I knew that. I thought everyone knew that.
posted by damnitkage at 10:39 AM on November 25, 2003

Caesious, eight letters long, is the shortest word in the English language that contains all five main vowels in alphabetical order. Nine letter words with this property are acheilous, acheirous, aerobious, arsenious, arterious, autecious, facetious, and parecious.

I guess they need to fix that.

Thanks for the link OG, I always like reading things like this. I once sat and found the longest word in the Oxford dictionary back in the mid '90s, and that word was floccinauccinihilipilification.
posted by riffola at 10:45 AM on November 25, 2003

"Typewriter" is the longest English word that you can type using only the top row of letters on a QWERTY keyboard.
posted by Mwongozi at 11:04 AM on November 25, 2003

I wish I'd read the page before I wrote that. ;)
posted by Mwongozi at 11:06 AM on November 25, 2003

More: A Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia.

I like the word for "without shell", which has three l's in a row: shellless.
posted by kurumi at 11:08 AM on November 25, 2003

Curse you, Kurumi!! I had that site bookmarked as tomorrow's post! :-)
posted by anastasiav at 11:25 AM on November 25, 2003


Longest word.
posted by krazykity16 at 11:46 AM on November 25, 2003


= Tobacco Mosaic Virus, Dahlemense Strain.
This word has appeared in the American Chemical Society's Chemical Abstracts and is thus considered by some to be the longest real word.

Try using that in Scrabble.
posted by Orange Goblin at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2003

"facetious" is one of 2 words that have each vowel, only once, in alphabetical order. Wish I could remember what the other one is..

Me too - I have been asking people what the second word is for years! When I saw the link, I was all excited about the opportunity to finally have my curiosity satisfied - only to find that there aren't only two answers, but lots. Maybe it's one of only two that you could add -ly to the end for all the vowels? I have no idea if the rest of those words are adjectives or nouns and I'm too disillusioned now to check.

posted by widdershins at 1:02 PM on November 25, 2003

Hijinks, that's a funny word. Three dotted letters in a row.
Then there's N*Sync, what the hell is that?
Jump in any time Lou, these are good topics.
posted by rswst8 at 8:32 PM on November 25, 2003

This was great fun. I kept wondering how someone figured this stuff out though.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:34 PM on November 25, 2003

CunningLinguist: grep, and the Moby words list.

Just for fun, here's the list of words greater than seven characters in length that are the same when mirrored along their horizontal axis (ignoring case, so I cheated): BEDECKED, BIBCOCK, BIOCIDE, BOBECHE, BOOHOOED, CHECKED, CHEEKED, CHOCKED, COCCOID, COOKBOOK, DECIDED, DECODED, DEICIDE, DIOXIDE, EXCEEDED, EXCIDED, HOICKED, HOODOOED, KEBBOCK.

So there ya go.
posted by Eamon at 9:04 PM on November 25, 2003

Oops, should've read the whole page before I went crazy there. But now you know the seven-letter words, too.

Not that I know what a "bobeche" is.
posted by Eamon at 9:14 PM on November 25, 2003

I'm having fun with words! The longest word spelled only with letters found in my first name: anemone.
posted by Eamon at 9:20 PM on November 25, 2003

I was always under the impression that there were two words with single vowels in alphabetical order. Facetious, and the other one, which he doesn't mention in his list: abstemious.
posted by doozer_ex_machina at 6:51 AM on November 26, 2003

"facetious" is one of 2 words that have each vowel, only once, in alphabetical order.

I think they mean common words with this feature, like ones people have heard of. As doozer says, the other word is abstemious. Without using Google can anyone think of a five-E word?
posted by jessamyn at 10:50 AM on November 26, 2003

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