Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (Audio|Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis2.ogg|listen, also spelled -koniosis) is, according to the "Oxford English Dictionary", "a word alleged to mean 'a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust causing inflammation in the lungs. Occurring chiefly as an instance of a very long word." ["Oxford English Dictionary" online, Oxford University Press, quote listed in "Second Edition 1989" definition. "Draft revision Sept. 2006" definition reads "a word invented (prob. by Everett M. Smith (born 1894), president of the National Puzzlers' League in 1935) in imitation of polysyllabic medical terms, alleged to mean 'a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine sand and ash dust' but occurring only as an instance of a very long word." Retrieved on 2007-10-08.] . It was coined to serve as the longest English wordand is the longest word ever to appear in an English language dictionary. It is listed in the current edition of several dictionaries. [ [ "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis: Definitions from"] . "". Retrieved on 2007-10-09.] A condition meeting the word's definition is normally called silicosis.


The disease is classified into four types. Of asymptomatic, acute, accelerated and chronic, the chronic form is the most common. It develops only after years of exposure to low levels of silica dust.

After inhalation, the dust embeds itself in the lungs' alveolar sacs. In response, white blood cells release cytokines, stimulating fibroblasts and resulting in fibrosis.

Symptoms include hyperventilation, coughing, dysphonia, anorexia, chest pain and increased susceptibility to tuberculosis.

No cure for the disease is known. Treatments include reducing exposure to particulates, chest physiotherapy, cough suppressants, antibiotics, antitubercular agents, and lung transplantation. []


The word was invented in 1935 by Everett M. Smith, president of the National Puzzlers' League, at its annual meeting. The word figured in the headline for an article published by the "New York Herald Tribune" on February 23, 1935 titled "Puzzlers Open 103d Session Here by Recognizing 45-Letter Word":

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis succeeded electrophotomicrographically as the longest word in the English language recognized by the National Puzzlers' League at the opening session of the organization's 103d semi-annual meeting held yesterday at the Hotel New Yorker. The puzzlers explained that the forty-five-letter word is the name of a special form of silicosis caused by ultra-microscopic particles of silica volcanic dust...

Subsequently, the word was used in a puzzle book, "Bedside Manna", after which members of the NPL campaigned to have it included in major dictionaries. [cite book
last = Cole
first = Chris
title = Wordplay, A Curious Dictionary of Language Oddities
publisher = Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
date = 1999
pages = pp. 106 - 107
isbn = 0-8069-1797-0

This 45-letter word, referred to as "P45"Cole, Chris. (1989.) [ "The Biggest Hoax"] . "Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics", via Retrieved on 2007-10-08.] , first appeared in the 1939 supplement to the "Merriam-Webster New International Dictionary, Second Edition" [Miller, Jeff. [ "A collection of word oddities and trivia: page 11, long words"] . (Personal website.) Retrieved on 2007-10-08.] .

Cultural references to pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

* In a 1965 episode of I've Got a Secret, Buddy Hackett unrolls a banner with the word on it and has the panel try to pronounce it.

*An episode of The Simpsons called Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy has Abraham Simpson successfully pronouncing the word when asking Homer what Marge's problem was.

*In a cartoon episode of Rocket Power, a character named Twister, who is extremely dim-witted, successfully spells the word on his spelling test.

* Floccinaucinihilipilification, the second of Irish composer David Flynn's "Two Nonsense Songs," ends with the word sung in a mock operatic cadenza style. []

* "" refers to this as the longest word, as opposed to 'promise,' which is only a medium-sized word.

* In the 2006 movie Beerfest, the scientist "Fink" utters the word very quickly to his labmates.

ee also

* Longest word in English
* Floccinaucinihilipilification
* Antidisestablishmentarianism
* Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu


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  • Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis — ist mit 45 Buchstaben das längste jemals in einem bedeutenden englischen Wörterbuch erschienene Wort. Es bezeichnet die Krankheit, die in Deutschland als Quarzstaublunge bekannt ist. Siehe dazu Silikose und Pneumokoniose. Das Wort wurde als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis — 1962, A facetious word alleged to mean a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust but occurring chiefly as an instance of a very long word [OED]. Said in an early reference to have been invented by seventh grade students in… …   Etymology dictionary

  • pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis — /nooh meuh noh ul treuh muy kreuh skop ik sil i koh vol kay noh koh nee oh sis, nyooh /, n. an obscure term ostensibly referring to a lung disease caused by silica dust, sometimes cited as one of the longest words in the English language. [ < NL; …   Universalium

  • pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis — noun /njuːˌmɒnəʊʌltrəmaɪkrəʊˈskɒpɪkˌsɪlɪkəʊvɒlkeɪnəʊkəʊniˈəʊsɪs,nuˌmɑːnoʊʌltrəmaɪkroʊˈskɑːpɪkˌsɪlɪkoʊvɑːlkeɪnoʊkoʊniˈoʊsɪs/ A factitious disease of the lungs, allegedly caused by inhaling microscopic silicate particles originating from eruption… …   Wiktionary

  • pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis — pneu·mo·no·ul·tra·mi·cro·scop·ic·sil·i·co·vol·ca·no·co·ni·o·sis n(y)ü mə (.)nō .əl trə .mī krə skäp ik sil i (.)kō väl kā nō .kō nē ō səs n, pl o·ses .sēz a pneumoconiosis caused by inhalation of very fine silicate or quartz dust …   Medical dictionary

  • pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses — n. disease of the lungs caused by inhalation of tiny particles of silica …   English contemporary dictionary

  • pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis — n. disease of the lungs caused by inhalation of tiny particles of silica …   English contemporary dictionary

  • pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis — pneu·mo·no·ul·tra·mi·cro·scop·ic·sili·co·vol·ca·no·co·ni·o·sis …   English syllables

  • pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis — A miner s lung disease caused by inhaling silicate dust …   Grandiloquent dictionary

  • pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis — |n(y)ümə(ˌ)nōˌəltrəˌmīkrəˈskäpikˈsilə̇(ˌ)kōˌvälˈkā(ˌ)nōˌkōnēˈōsə̇s noun Etymology: New Latin, from pneumon + International Scientific Vocabulary ultramicroscopic + New Latin silic + volcano + coniosis (from coni (II) + osis) …   Useful english dictionary

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