A Conversation for Ask h2g2

longest words

Post 1

brian

When I was in the RAF 57-62 there were some strange people doing
national service. There was dicussion about the longest word in the
english language.
I was informed that this was:
UNHYPERSYMMETRICOANTIPARALLELEPIPEDICALISATIONALOGRAPHICALY

This may have grown during the course of the discussion.

I have never been able to forget the word.

UNFORTUNATELY nobody ever told me what it means and years of
research has been fruitless.

Any ideas before I forget how to spell it.


longest words

Post 2

Icy North

Hi Brian smiley - smiley

I'm not sure it's quite right as you've written it. The elements seem to clash. I don't like the adjectival bit in the middle (...ISATIONAL...) and then an adverbial ending (...OGRAPHICALLY)

Hypersymmetry is a very complex mathematical concept - it describes structures that can't really be depicted in three dimensions. I don't doubt that there could be some long words involving it, but you might need a specialist to tell you what the correct term might be.

smiley - cheers Icy


longest words

Post 3

brian

some of the people originally involved in the discussion were just out of university and were mathematicians.


longest words

Post 4

brian

I may have been responsible for some of the adjectivalisation and
adverbiditto


longest words

Post 5

Geggs

But if it's unhypersymmetrical then it can be depicted in three dimensions.

And if it's an anti-parallelepiped, then the edges lean inwards.

I'm not sure about the rest of it, but it's starting to sound like a pyramid to me. Or the base of a pyramid, at least.


Geggs


longest words

Post 6

Geggs

No, more than the base, kinda like like a pyramid with the tip chopped off, if it's not the whole pyramid.


Geggs


longest words

Post 7

clzoomer- a bit woobly

I was once told the longest word was a medical term, which seems logical to me. It has changed since but it used to be the term for a disease that involved consequences of the inhalation of volcanic dust-
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
Which I like to try and pronounce now and then.
smiley - biggrin


longest words

Post 8

Deep Doo Doo

And if you search your own h2g2, there's an Edited Entry.

A24833397


longest words

Post 9

clzoomer- a bit woobly

Of course!!

smiley - applause

smiley - cheers


longest words

Post 10

Just Bob aka Robert Thompson, plugging my film blog cinemainferno-blog.blogspot.co.uk

So the OP word seems like it may mean "drawn (or otherwise visually depicted) as if it had been twisted into the shape of a pyramid with the top bit chopped off". smiley - silly Theoretically, I suppose this could relate to some kind of statistical manipulation used to spot certain trends. I have no idea what trend such a function might help to reveal, though.
Technically, finding the longest word for anything in existence has become effectively meaningless due to the naming rules for chemicals. You can easily make a chemical with a name hundreds of characters long and, if you want to extend it, you just need to add another side chain or functional group.
Similarly, you probably have to disqualify words made solely by adding a standard sub-clause, prefix or suffix to an existing word without thought to the meaning. In my GCSE days I made a German word that meant "favourite economics homework collections" and treasured it ever since, even though I cannot believe any set of circumstances could lead to its use - note that it is a plural!


longest words

Post 11

tarantoes

Systematic names for chemicals can be very very long, although they
often contain hyphens and commas with a mix of numbers and letters.

On a separate note, I suppose there comes a point when long words can
be considered as elided multiword combinations. I think various
languages combine sentence parts into single "letter combination
units".

smiley - cheers


longest words

Post 12

kelli - ran 2 miles a day for 2012, aiming for the same for 2013

See also: A640207


longest words

Post 13

Just Bob aka Robert Thompson, plugging my film blog cinemainferno-blog.blogspot.co.uk

Anyway, I was always told that the longest word is:
Antidisestablishmentarianism
... which has to do with the separation of Church and State, and is genuinely used on occasion. I think I once had reason to use it in a conversation, and was inordinately pleased. smiley - biggrin


longest words

Post 14

Icy North

I think the reason that word grates with me is the anti- followed by the dis-

Why not simple "establishmentarianism"

In fact "establishism" does pretty much the same job, as would "stabilism".


longest words

Post 15

Just Bob aka Robert Thompson, plugging my film blog cinemainferno-blog.blogspot.co.uk

The distinction is that "Establishmentarians" support the "Establishment", whereas "Antidisestablishmentarians" just don't agree with breaking it up.


longest words

Post 16

Pinniped


In respect of the original word, I'm wondering about that Antiparallelepiped bit. If the usual geometric meeting of antiparallel applies, then the angle between the edge vectors would have to be zero degrees (as opposed to 180 degrees), meaning that if you walked round the edges of a face of this not-quite-rhomboid thingy, then when you were going along the third edge you'd still be walking in the same direction as you were walking along the first, opposite edge.

[Hhuuurp] that doesn't sound like a very comfortable universe.

As for the Unhypersymmetric bit, I have no idea what that means. Even plain-and-simple hypersymmetry seems to have a first literature mention about a decade after those airmen were apparently discussing its un-ness, so time as well as space is in trouble here.

Perhaps it's better to stick with some more established long words. Compound words in some other languages like German can go on more or less for ever, of course. Some of them are quite mellifluous. Here's one that Fritz Spiegel (anyone remember him?) composed:
Hottentottenpotentatentantenattentat
which is apparently the German word for an assassination attempt on the aunt of a Hottentat potentate, should you ever need it.


longest words

Post 17

Icy North

We learned that Hottentot word at school - thank you for reminding me! smiley - smiley


longest words

Post 18

mfr

I have also head this word.
An unhyoersymetricoantiparallelopiped is a parallelogram with the corners chopped off.

It was part of the winning longest sensible 10 word telegram.

I too came up with unhypersymetricoantiparallelopipedicalisationagraphically.


longest words

Post 19

Caiman raptor elk - Infinity lies outside the box

I still think "infinity" is longer.


longest words

Post 20

Recumbentman

Antidisestablishmentarianism has an honourable history.

In the 1860s when the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland was being debated in Westminster, some opponents of the proposal were labelled antidisestablishmentarianists by the proponents. No doubt they were indulging in the parliamentary game of Hansard-baiting. Another example of this was the word floccinaucinihilipilification (the act of undervaluing), also first used in Parliament.

The Church of Ireland was successfully disestablished in 1869. It is high time the Church of England followed suit.


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