When I use a word…: Hippopotamonstrosesquipedalian

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 02 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:i
  1. Jeff Aronson
  1. is a clinical pharmacologist in Oxford

    What is the longest English word? Not a difficult question to answer, you might think, but the winner is not so easy to decide. The first problem is to define what one means by a word. For example, Mrs Byrne in her Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words (no, I'm not making it up) mentions a polypeptide enzyme whose name contains 1913 letters, consisting of the string of terms used to describe each of its 267 constituent amino acids; it starts methionyl-glutaminylarginyl- and ends …

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