needs to be taken down a few notches. The moment that Dick Van Dyke and Julie
Andrews danced to the nearly unreadable word in Mary Poppins, it was
immortalized as one of the, if not the
, longest words in the English
language. But, as NPR's Robert Krulwich
shrewdly notes, it doesn't even "mean anything." This, in part, leads
the science blogger to undertake a little fact-finding mission to
discover the longest real word in the English language. But what,
exactly, constitutes "real"?
Well, preferably not a molecule
that appears in a reference book for chemists--like the 1,185
character-long description of a Tobacco mosaic virus that begins
"Glutaminylphenyl..." and continues on and on and on for a paragraph
Krulwich concludes that, yes, a word has to be "used" at some point to
actually count as "real." So here's what he settles on, courtesy of a
book by Sam Kean
Krulwich's simple definition: "It's a disease." But, unfortunately,
that's as unsatisfying as "Glutaminyl..." because it's still "technical"
jargon. Can't the crown be given to word that isn't technical and isn't
"fragilistic..."? Sadly, the answer appears to be "No."
Krulwich ends up solidifying the Poppins term's position, the Wire hopes
that someone finds a way to add a 7 more letters to the 28 character
antidisestablishmentarianism--just to wrestle away the crown.
[H/T: The Morning News
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