Coined by Everett K Smith, President of the National Puzzlers’ League, at their convention in 1935, from Ancient Greek πνεύμων (pneúmōn, “lung”) + Latin ultra (“beyond”) + English microscopic + silico- + volcano + Ancient Greek κόνις (kónis, “dust”) + English -osis, as an extension of the medical term pneumonoconiosis.
- Cited as the longest word in the Oxford English Dictionary. On July 14, 2017 sixteen-year-old Michael Bryan used the 45-letter word during a Youth Select Committee meeting to highlight the “grave inconsistency” of addressing health conditions, with physical problems given greater precedent than mental health issues.
- The Oxford English Dictionary lists pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis as “a factitious word alleged to mean ‘a lung disease caused by inhalation of very fine silica dust usually found in volcanos’ but occurring chiefly as an instance of a very long word”.
- This word was invented purely to be a contender for the title of the longest word in the English language, comprising forty-five letters and nineteen syllables. The word is not in official medical usage, and textbooks refer to this disease as pneumonoconiosis, pneumoconiosis, or silicosis.
Audio (US, Northern California) (file)
- (Received Pronunciation):
- IPA(key): /njuːˌmɒnəʊʌltɹəmaɪkɹəʊˈskɒpɪkˌsɪlɪkəʊvɒlkeɪnəʊkəʊniˈəʊsɪs/;
- enPR: no͞o-män'ō-ŭl-trə-mī-krə-skäpʹĭk-sĭl'ē-kō-väl-kā-nō-kō-nē-ōʹsĭs;
- IPA(key): /nuˌmɑːnoʊʌltɹəmaɪkɹoʊˈskɑːpɪkˌsɪlɪkoʊvɑːlkeɪnoʊkoʊniˈoʊsɪs/;
Audio (US) (file)
- Hyphenation: pneu‧mon‧o‧ul‧tra‧mi‧cro‧scop‧ic‧sil‧i‧co‧vol‧ca‧no‧co‧ni‧o‧sis
pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (plural pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses)
- (nonce word) A factitious disease of the lungs, allegedly caused by inhaling microscopic silicate particles originating from eruption of a volcano.
2011 April 28, Stradtman, Kurt D., Am I the Person My Mother Warned Me About?: A Four-year College Experience ... Only the Good Parts, Xlibris, ISBN 9781462862887, LCCN 2011906469, page 90:
- I still can't watch House M.D. and not have my mind wonder […] Even I can fear of[sic] having Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis after watching it.
For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.