Saturday, September 14, 2013


When I was young, long English  words always appealed to me. At the drop of a hat, I would find some reason to use a long word when a short word could have been used. Probably, I wanted to impress my parents and friends with my supposed command over the English language. Instead of praise, I faced criticism. I realised later that using shorter words were more meaningful and  had more impact on the readers than pedantic long ones. During those heady days, the longest English word that I had learnt was "antidisestablishmentarianistically". 34 letters in all.
As one who has learnt German language recently, I learnt quite a few long German words. Old habits they say die hard. But then nothing can beat Germany's longest word. Only a law change could kill it. The word is "Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz". The meaning of the word is "law delegating beef label monitoring". With the death of this word of 64 letters, probably, the longest German word now is "Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung", which means automobile liability insurance. From fire to the frying pan!
                                                  Picture is courtesy

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