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, 2010 at 18:23
  • @cthom06 - Right you are, corrected.
    – JohnFx
    Aug 20, 2010 at 22:46

6 Answers 6


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. Aug 20, 2010 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, 2010 at 18:43
  • nohat is correct, my intent that double letters in sequence still count as being in alphabetical order.
    – JohnFx
    Aug 20, 2010 at 22:43
  • @nohat - I'm gonna have to remember the no Perl rule for next week. =)
    – JohnFx
    Aug 20, 2010 at 22:44
  • 1
    @JohnFx: I would extend the rule to any programming language; I am sure nohat knows at least two scripting languages. ;-)
    – apaderno
    Aug 21, 2010 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, 2010 at 2:38
  • Yes, you're right. I've edited accordingly. I could also add 'begins'. Aug 21, 2010 at 2:49

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

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