Word Trivia

Facts and oddities of the English language

Longest Words ~ Symmetry ~ Typewriter Words ~ Vowels ~ Syllables
Plurals ~ Anagrams ~ Contained Words ~ Miscellaneous


Longest Words

The longest English word that does not contain the letter 'e' is floccinaucinihilipilification at 29 letters.
Cabbaged and fabaceae, each 8 letters long, are the longest words that can be played on a musical instrument.
Aegilops, 8 letters long, is the longest word with its letters arranged in alphabetical order.
Spoonfeed, 9 letters long, is the longest word with its letters arranged in reverse alphabetical order.
CIMICIC and CIMICID, each 7 letters long, are the longest words that are exclusively made up of Roman numerals when written in upper case. Among words consisting of only Roman numeral letters, the "highest scoring" are MIMIC (2,102) and IMMIX (2,012).
Overnumerousnesses, 18 letters long, is the longest word that consists of only letters that lack ascenders, descenders and dots in lower case.
Lighttight and hillypilly, each 10 letters long, are the longest words consisting only of letters with ascenders, descenders and dots in lower case.
Tittifill, 9 letters long, is the longest word consisting only of letters with ascenders or dots in lower case.
Honorificabilitudinitatibus, 27 letters long, is the longest word consisting strictly of alternating consonents and vowels.
Dermatoglyphics, misconjugatedly and uncopyrightable, each 15 letters long, are the longest words in which no letter appears more than once. Subdermatoglyphic, at 17 letters, is longer but is very obscure and rarely used.
Unprosperousness, 16 letters long, is the longest word in which each letter occurs at least twice.
Esophagographers, 16 letter long, is the longest word in which each of its letters occurs twice.
Fickleheaded and fiddledeedee, both 12 letters long, are the longest words consisting only of letters in the first half of the alphabet.
Discrete - discreet is the longest homophonic anagram (2 similarly pronounced words that are spelled differently but sound the same and are composed of the same letters).
Redivider is the longest common palindromic word ( a word reading the same backwards and forwards).
The longest words that are reverse images of each other are stressed and desserts.
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Symmetry

CHECKBOOK, 9 letters long, is the longest word composed entirely of letters with horizontal symmetry in upper case. Some others with this property are: BEDECKED, BOOHOOED, CHECKBOOK, CHOICE, CODEBOOK, COOKBOOK, DECIDED, DIOXIDE, EXCEEDED, HIDE, ICEBOX, OBOE.
HOITY-TOITY, at 10 letters long, is the longest word composed entirely of letters with vertical symmetry in upper case. HOMOTAXIA, 9 letters long, is another with this property.
I and OHO are the only words that, when written in upper case, have horizontal and vertical symmetry and consist of letters that have both horizontal and vertical symmetry.
ZOONOSIS, 8 letter long, is the longest word composed of letters with 180º rotational symmetry in upper case.
MOW, SIS and SWIMS, when written in upper case, have 180° rotational symmetry.
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Typewriter Words

Aftercataracts and tesseradecades, each 14 letters long, are the longest words that can be typed using only those letters normally typed with the left hand. The more common words stewardesses (12 letters) and reverberated (11 letters) are other examples.
Johnny-jump-up and niminy-piminy, each 12 letters long, are the longest words that can be typed using only those letters normally typed with the right hand. Lollipop (8 letters) is more common.
Leptothricosis and leucocytozoans, each 14 letters long, are the longest words that can be typed using strictly alternating hands.
Postmuscular, 12 letters long, is the longest word that is normally typed by switching hands every two letters.
Uropyoureter (a collection of urine & pus in the ureter), at 12 lettters long, is the longest word that can be typed using only those letters on the top row of a typewriter. Some 11 letter words are: proprietory, proterotype and rupturewort. Some 10 letter words are: pepperroot, pepperwort, perpetuity, pewterwort, pirouetter, prerequire, pretorture, proprietor, repertoire, tetterwort and typewriter.
Shakalshas, 10 letters long, is the longest word that can be typed using only those letters in the middle row of a typewriter.
Deeded, hummum, muhuhu, and muumuu, each 6 letters long, are the longest words that are normally typed with just one finger.
Words that use each of the eight typing fingers just once include: alpiners, biplanes, captions, clasping, esophagi, elapsing, harelips, impalers, jackpots, lifespan, panelist, placings, plainest, plaudits, pleasing, pralines and scalping.
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Vowels

Words (found in major English dictionaries) consisting entirely of vowels include a, aa ( a type of lava), ae, ai, aieee, iao, oii, eau, euouae, oe, oo, I, o, a, io and uoiauai, the last being the longest vowel-only word (7 letters).
A and I are the shortest words composed of vowels only.
Euouae, a 6 letter English word consisting only of vowels, also contains the most consecutive vowels.
Other words with consecutive vowels are: beauty, liaising ( 3 vowels); obsequious (4 vowels); queueing, aieee, cooeeing, jussieuean, miaoued, zaouia, zooeae, zoaeae, (5 vowels).
Not counting 'y', Twyndyllyngs, 12 letters long, is the longest word in the English language without any of the five main vowels. The 7 letter rhythms is a more common one. Short words are my, sky and thy.
Asthma begins and ends with a vowel but has no other vowels in between. Some less common long words with this property are isthmi (alternate plural of isthmus), aphtha and eltchi.
Ultrarevolutionaries is a word in which each of the five main vowels occurs twice.
Strengths, 9 letter long, is the longest word with only one vowel.
Chrononhotonthologos (20 letters) is the longest word with only one repeated vowel. Two other long words with this property are strengthlessnesses (18 letters) and defencelessnesses (17 letters).
Abstemious, abstentious, adventitious, aerious, annelidous, arsenious, arterious, caesious and facetious are all words with all five vowels in order. If you count 'y' as a vowel, -ly can be added to most of them to get all six vowels.
Duoliteral, quodlibetal, subcontinental, uncomplimentary, unnoticeably and unproprietary are all words with all five vowels in reverse order (except for 'y'). The shortest word in this category is suoidea (the taxonomic group to which pigs belong) at 7 letters, while the longest is punctoschmidtella (a crustacean) at 17 letters.
The shortest word with the vowels in alphabetical order is aerious (7 letters). The longest such word is phragelliorhynchus (a protozoan) with 18 letters.
There are many words that have all five vowels in any order such as: authoritative, behaviour, cauliflower, documentation, exhumation, favourite, graciousness, hallucinogen, inconsequential, liquefacation, malfunctioned, neuroglia, ostentatious, pandemonium, questionnaire, revolutionary, sacrilegious, sternutation, tambourine, uncomplimentary, and vexatious. The shortest words in this category are adoulie, aerious, douleia, eucosia, eulogia, eunoia, eunomia, eutopia, miaoued, moineau and sequoia.
Blander can integrate all 5 vowels to make five new separate words: blander, blender, blinder, blonder, blunder. Another example is: patting, petting, pitting, potting, putting.
Honorificabilitudinitatibus (27 letters) is the longest words consisting entirely of alternating vowels and consonants. Other such words are aluminosilicates (16 letters), epicoracohumeraler (18 letters), hexosaminidases (15 letters), iculanibokolas (14 letters), pararosanilines (15 letters), parasitological (15 letters) and verisimilitudes (15 letters).
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Syllables

Scraunched and the archaic word strengthed each 10 letters long, are the longest words which are only one syllable long.
Rugged is a two-syllable word that can be made one syllable by adding letters to it to make shrugged. The two-syllable word ague can be made one syllable by adding letters to make vague or plague.
Are is a one syllable word that can be made into a three-syllable word by adding just one letter to make area. Came, plus one letter, becomes the three-syllable word cameo. Gape can become agape. Lien can become alien. Adding a letter to the middle of smile becomes the three-syllable simile. Adding a letter in the middle of whine makes wahine.
The three-syllable word hideous, with the change of a single consonant, becomes a two-syllable word with no vowel sounds in common: hideout.
Chasm, dirndl, massacring, rhythm, sarcasm and vrbaite have more syllables than pronounced vowels. Contractions and words ending in ism and ithm also have this property, as does the proper name Edinburgh.
The only countries in the world with one syllable in their names are Chad, France, Greece and Spain.
Some two-syllable words which become one-syllable words by adding a letter or letters are: ague/plague, ague/vague, ave/have, rugged/shrugged, aged/raged, aged/staged, boa/boat, ole/sole, ole/whole, ragged/dragged, naked/snaked, sour/source, winged/twinged.
Some common words which change to three syllables when just one letter is added are: are/area, came/cameo, crime/Crimea, gape/agape, hose/hosea, Jude/Judea, lien/alien, ole/oleo, rode/rodeo, Rome/Romeo, smile/simile, whine/wahine.

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Plurals

Some words which have no singular form are: alms, amends, braces cattle, clothes, doldrums, eaves, ides, marginalia, pants, pliers, scissors, shorts, smithereens, trousers.
Many words, such as deer, moose and sheep, are spelled and pronounced the same way in both their singular and plural forms. More interesting words with this property are congeries, kudos, premises, shambles, series and species. Fish can be both singular and plural, yet fishes is also a correct pluralisation of the word.
Some words which have their plural spelled the same way as their singular form but pronounced differently are: bourgeois, chassis, corps, faux-pas, gardebras,précis, pince-nez, rendezvous.
Many plural words ending in s become different singular words when another s is added (e.g. cares/caress, princes/princess): abbes, abys, adventures, bas, bos, bras,bulgines, bus,cares, chapes, cites, cosines, deadlines, discus, esquires, fras, gamines, gaus, glassines, gues, his, homines, hos, kavas, kas, larges, las, los, lownes, marques, mas, millionaires, mis, moras, mos, multimillionaires, needles, nervines, ogres,pas, pis, pos, poses, prelates, princes, pros, pus, sagenes, saltines, shines, sightlines, squires, tartines, timelines, tyrranes, usures and zebras. Many of them switch from masculine plural form to feminine singular form.
Kine, an obsolete plural of cow, shares no letters with its singular form.
Folk and folks are both plurals, with no singular form.
Necropolis is a singular word ending in S that becomes plural when the S is removed.
Axe and axis are two different words, yet they share the same plural, axes. Others are base and basis (bases), and ellipse and ellipsis (ellipses).
The plural of man is men. The plural of woman is women. The plural of human is humans.
The plural of foot is feet. The plural of goosefoot is goosefoots. The plural of goose is geese.The plural of mongoose is mongooses.
The plural of mouse, the rodent, is mice. The plural of mouse, the computer hardware device, is mouses.
Other unusually pluralised words are brother, which may be pluralised to brothers but also brethren; cherub, which is pluralised to cherubim; die, which is pluralised to dice; formula, which may be pluralised to formulas but also formulae; juger, which is pluralised to jugera; kibbutz, which is pluralised to kibbutzim; landsman, which is pluralised to landsleit; libretto, which is pluralised to libretti; ox, which is pluralised to oxen, paries, which is pluralised to parietes; person, which is pluralised to people; rubai, which is pluralised to rubaiyat; schema, which is pluralised to schemata; seraph, which is pluralised to seraphim; tempo, which is pluralised to tempi; and wunderkind, which is pluralised to wunderkinder. Most of these words were taken from other languages - like Hebrew, Greek, German and Italian - with the foreign pluralisation rules retained.
The singular form of braces, when used in the orthodontic sense, is bracket. One bracket per tooth is attached when someone is fitted with braces.
Hair is a singular word that suggests more than its plural, hairs.
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Anagrams

Louis XIII, the King of France during the early 17th century, appointed a Royal Anagrammist for a salary of £1, 200 a year.
Representationalism and misrepresentational , each 19 letters long, are the longest non-scientific English words that are anagrams of each other. Other long examples are: conservationalists and conversationalists (18 letters); internationalism and interlaminations (16 letters). The scientific words hydroxydesoxycorticosterone and hydroxydeoxycorticosterones are the longest words that are anagrams of each other.
Basiparachromatin and marsipobranchiata, each 17 letters long, are anagrams of each other that have no more than three consecutive letters in common.
Nitromagnesite and regimentations, each 14 letters long, are anagrams of each other without any consecutive letters in common.
Interrogatives, reinvestigator and tergiversation, each 14 letters long, are the longest three non-scientific words that are anagrams of each other.
Monday is the only day of the week that has an anagram, which is dynamo. March, April and May are the only months of the year that have anagrams, these are charm, ripal and yam.
Earth, with hater and heart, and Mars, with arms and rams, are the only planets In the Solar System with anagrams.
Japan's former capital city (Kyoto, A.D. 794-1868) and present capital city (Tokyo) are anagrams of each other.
There is no other word that can be made by rearranging the letters of the word anagram.
The word stifle is an anagram of itself!
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Contained Words

Thitherwards contains the most English words spelled consecutively within it: a, ar, ard, ards, er, he, her, hi, hit, hithe, hither, hitherward, hitherwards, I, it, ither, the, thitherward, thitherwards, wa, war, ward and wards, totalling 23 words.
Ushers contains the most personal pronouns spelled consecutively within it: he, her, hers, she, and us, totalling five pronouns.
Interchangeability contains the words three, eight, nine, ten, thirteen, thirty, thirty-nine, eighty, eighty-nine, ninety and ninety-eight.
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Miscellaneous

Hotshots consists of the same four letters repeated. There are other 8 letter words with this property, though none of them are common: caracara, chowchow, couscous, froufrou, greegree, guitguit, kavakava and lavalava.
Abcaree, Abchalazal, Abcoulomb, crabcake, dabchick and drabcloth are among the only words in the English language that contain 'abc'.
Hydroxyzine and xyzzor are the only words that contains 'xyz'.
Tmesis is the only English word beginning with 'tm'.
The longest alphabetical sequences to appear in English words are 'mnop' and 'rstu'. 'Mnop' appears in such words as gymnopaedic, gymnophiona, gymnoplast, limnophilous, prumnopitys, semnopithecus, somnopathy and thamnophile. 'Rstu' appears in such words as overstudy, overstuff, superstud and understudy.
You and ewe are pronounced the same but have no letters in common. Eye and I is another such pair. Oh and eau is another.
Subbookkeeper is the only English word with four pairs of double letters in a row. Assessee and keelless are the shortest words with three pairs of double letters. Cooee is the shortest word with two double letters.
The most commonly used words in written English are: the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, it, he, for, was, on, are, as, with, his, they, at, be, this, from, I, have, or, by, one, had, not, but, what, all, were, when, we, there, can, an, your, which, their, said, if, do.
The most commonly occuring sound in spoken English is the sound of a in alone, followed by e as in key, t as in top and d as in dip.
Of is the only commonly used word in which F is pronounced like a V. The only other words with this property are hereof, thereof and whereof.
Tough, though, through and thorough are formed by adding a letter every time between t and ough, but none of them rhymes with any other.
The combination ough can be pronounced in nine different ways. The following sentence contains them all: "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."
Underfund and underground are the only two English words that start and finish with 'und'.
Widow is the only female form in English that is shorter than the corresponding male term (widower). Most female forms are derived by modifying the male term with a suffix (actor/actress).
Demirep is the only word in the English language which is made feminine by applying a prefix, rather than a suffix, to the masculine form, which is rep.
No word in the English language rhymes with depth, month, orange, silver or purple.
Dreamt is the only common English word ending in mt. Others are the obscure adreamt, redreamt undreamt and daydreamt.
Tremendous, horrendous, stupendous and hazardous are the only English words ending in -dous.
The word queue is the only one in the English language that is still pronounced the same when the last four letters are removed.
The only words consisting entirely of letters with descenders in lower case are gyp and gyppy.
A word in which each of its letters occurs three times is sestettes.
Syzygy is the only English word with three ys. The word means the conjunction or opposition of any two of the heavenly bodies.
The word chincherinchee is the only known word that has one letter occurring once, two letters occcuring twice and three letters occurring three times.
Of all the words in the English language, the word set has the most definitions (192 according to the Oxford English Dictionary).
"I am." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language. Some say that the sentence "I do." is the longest!
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