English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Another question on the site made me take notice that through is monosyllabic, but quite long. Are there longer monosyllabic words? What's the longest disyllabic word in English?

Edit: so, Wikipedia has a page for monosyllabic words, but none for disyllabic ones. Anyone can think of any long disyllabic example?

share|improve this question
measured how? vocally, orthographically? – bmargulies May 5 '11 at 20:28
@bmargulies: orthographically – F'x May 5 '11 at 20:30
I've seen lots on monosyllabic words, but nothing ever on disyllabic ones. – Mitch May 6 '11 at 19:31
I'm guessing we aren't allowed to suggest, Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhh! – Jon Hanna Jan 16 '13 at 14:02
Defining syllables orthographically does not really make any sense, but I guess we can assume the intended definition is “containing only one/two vowel(s)/vowel combination(s)”. If we define instead by phonetic syllables (and include proper names), the longest disyllabic word I can think of is the surname Featherstonehaugh (pronounced /ˈfænʃɔː/, for no apparent reason other than English aristocracy). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 12 '13 at 19:25
up vote 17 down vote accepted

From Wikipedia:

  • Strengths is the longest word in the English language containing only one vowel.

  • Rhythms is the longest word in the English language containing none of the five recognised vowels.

  • Schmaltzed and strengthed appear to be the longest monosyllabic words recorded in OED; but if squirrelled is pronounced as one syllable only (as permitted in SOED for squirrel), it is the longest.

This Wikipedia article suggests that schtroumpfed is the longest; however, it's really a stretch to say this is an English word in any even remotely established sense (and I am definitely not strict in the words I would consider to be "part of" a language).

share|improve this answer

Strengths is a nine-lettered monosyllable. And it is compulsory to mention that smiles has one mile between the two S's...

share|improve this answer
THWACK! (but +1 anyway) – Marthaª May 5 '11 at 20:31

http://braingle.com/news/hallfame.php?path=language/english/pronunciation/syllable.p&sol=1 gives "scratchbrushed" (14 letters) as the longest 2-syllable word. A more common word is "breakthroughs" (13 letters).

If you allow hyphens, perhaps "straight-stretched" (17 letters) is acceptable.

share|improve this answer

Scraunched Scroonched Strengthed

share|improve this answer
Despite your unembellished brevity, I think you may actually be on to something there. Alas, schmaltzed given separately) ties you. But these are all of the same form of a liquid *s (possibly palatalized) following by an optional stop and then a nasal or liquid, and finally given an -ed suffix. One might make something of that. – tchrist Jan 29 '13 at 2:52

Wikipedia has a nice list. Schmaltzed is probably the longest "real word", being in the OED, but it depends on what you consider standard / reputable.

I'm not sure about disyllabic words.

share|improve this answer
Did you just equate “real word” and “being in the OED”? Courageous. – tchrist Jan 29 '13 at 2:52
@tchrist See the quotes and the caveat that follows? – Matthew Read Jan 29 '13 at 3:37

Assuming you don't allow hyphens for disyllabic words, the London street name Knightsbridge is 13 letters. (It is also one of the rare words with six consonants in a row.)

share|improve this answer

Strengths ties with twelfths for the longest word in the English language containing only one vowel. Although, in view of my contributions elsewhere

Is a syllable defined phonetically or etymologically?

I have to say I'm not sure I can happily call it a monosyllable ("two elfs").

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.