It's Friday again, how about some fun to get us into the weekend?

What is the longest word you can come up with for which all the letters in that word are in alphabetical order?


  • English words only
  • Can't be a name of a place, person or other proper noun.
  • if it contains the same letter twice in a row, that does not disqualify it.
  • No fair looking it up on Google!

Update: One more rule to help you guys out.

  • The word can be in either ascending or descending alphabetical order.
  • 2
    Maybe this should be community wiki? – cthom06 Aug 20 '10 at 18:23
  • @cthom06 - Right you are, corrected. – JohnFx Aug 20 '10 at 22:46

OK, well another Friday, another Perl script. Here’s this week’s:

use warnings;
use strict;
my @alphas;
while (<>) {
    my @words = split /\s+/;
    foreach my $word (@words) {
        $word =~ s/[^A-Za-z]//g;
        next unless $word =~ /^[A-Za-z]{2,}$/;
        $word = uc $word;
        my @letters = split //, $word;
        my $sorted_word = join '', sort @letters;
        if ($sorted_word eq $word) {
            push @{$alphas[length $word]}, $word;

for (1..2) {
    print join "\n", @{pop @alphas};
    print "\n=====\n";


This time I used as the input corpus the AGID word list from Kevin’s Word Lists:

And got this output:


Aegilops (length 8) is a genus of grasses, and so is proper noun and might not count. Billowy (length 7) is definitely a commonly-used, legit word. Dikkops (length 7), also known as Stone-curlews, are a South African bird.

  • It can't have the same letter twice in a row. – Arlen Beiler Aug 20 '10 at 18:41
  • @Arlen, the rules say “if it contains the same letter twice in a row, that does not disqualify it.” (emphasis mine) – nohat Aug 20 '10 at 18:43
  • nohat is correct, my intent that double letters in sequence still count as being in alphabetical order. – JohnFx Aug 20 '10 at 22:43
  • @nohat - I'm gonna have to remember the no Perl rule for next week. =) – JohnFx Aug 20 '10 at 22:44
  • 1
    @JohnFx: I would extend the rule to any programming language; I am sure nohat knows at least two scripting languages. ;-) – kiamlaluno Aug 21 '10 at 3:24

I ALMOST had it.


Code golf and /usr/dict/words:

perl -nle '$x="^".join("*",("a".."z"))."*\$";if(/$x/){print length($_)," ",$_}' /usr/dict/words|sort -nr|head

8 aegilops
7 egilops
7 deglory
7 billowy
7 belloot
7 begorry
7 beefily
7 alloquy
6 knotty
6 knoppy

If you had asked about vowels in order rather than letters, then two good ones would be facetiously and abstemiously.


I got accent

  • I'm pretty sure abcess is a misspelling of abscess. – moioci Aug 21 '10 at 2:38
  • Yes, you're right. I've edited accordingly. I could also add 'begins'. – Brian Hooper Aug 21 '10 at 2:49

The best I can think of is "Oopsy!" which isn't exactly a dictionary word.

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