World’s Longest Word Has 189,819 Letters, Takes 3.5 Hours to Pronounce

The full chemical name of the world’s largest known protein has 189,819 letters and is considered the longest word in any language. If you’re one of those people who loves to watch paint dry, you can even watch a 3.5-hour video of a guy pronouncing the whole name.

Titin, also known as connectin, is a giant protein composed of 244 individually folded protein domains connected by unstructured peptide sequences. Also, the gene for titin contains the largest number of exons (363) discovered in any single gene. Titin is important in the contraction of striated muscle tissues, but it’s mostly known for its technical name, which is sometimes referred to as the longest known word in any language. The name “titin” is derived from the Greek “titan” (a giant deity, anything of great size), but it’s the full chemical name that really does it justice. I could just paste it in this post, but it would take you forever just to scroll through it, so I’m just going to say it starts with  methionyl and ends …isoleucine. You can fill in the middle part yourself. But if you’re really curious to hear someone pronounce the world’s longest word, there’s a boring cool video of some Russian-sounding guy who takes around 3.5 hours to go through all the letters, and even grows a beard in the process. After a while, it all starts to sound like mumbling, but you have to admire the poor guy for his effort.

For obvious reasons, the full chemical name of titin is not listed in dictionaries, as many lexicographers regard generic names of chemical compounds as verbal formulae, not English words. Well, call it what you will, a word, a formulae, a short story, this thing, whatever it is, is pretty darn long. Geekologie even has a text file with the name available for download, but just looking at it just makes my eyes hurt.

 


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