Honorificabilitudinitatibus is the dative and ablative plural of the mediaeval Latin word honorificabilitudinitas, which can be translated as "the state of being able to achieve honours". It is mentioned by the character Costard in Act V, Scene I of William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost.[broken citation] As it appears only once in Shakespeare's works, it is a hapax legomenon in the Shakespeare canon. It is also the longest word in the English language featuring only alternating consonants and vowels.
Use in Love's Labour's Lost
The word is spoken by the comic rustic Costard in Act V, Scene 1 of the play. It is used after an absurdly pretentious dialogue between the pedantic schoolmaster Holofernes and his friend Sir Nathaniel. The two pedants converse in a mixture of Latin and florid English. When Moth, a witty young servant, enters, Costard says of the pedants,
"O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words. I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon."
Flap-dragon was a game which involved trying to eat hot raisins from a bowl of burning brandy.
Use in Baconianism
The word has been used by adherents of the Baconian theory—who believe Shakespeare's plays were written in steganographic cypher by Francis Bacon. In 1905 Isaac Hull Platt argued that it was an anagram for hi ludi, F. Baconis nati, tuiti orbi, Latin for "these plays, F. Bacon's offspring, are preserved for the world".[broken citation] His argument was given wide circulation by Edwin Durning-Lawrence in 1910, complete with a cryptonumerical attempt to prove it justified.  The anagram assumes that Bacon would have Latinized his name as "Baco" (the genitive case of which is "Baconis") rather than as "Baconus" (the genitive of which would be "Baconi"). Samuel Schoenbaum argues that Bacon would have Latinized his name as "Baconus", with genitive "Baconi". It is far from the only possible anagram. John Sladek noted in the 1970s that the word could also be anagrammatized as I, B. Ionsonii, uurit [writ] a lift'd batch, thus "proving" that Shakespeare's works were written by Ben Jonson. (The two "u"s, rendered as "v"s in the original literation, are put together to form - literally - "a double u" (w), as was common practice in Shakespeare's day.) In 2012, a columnist writing on the English language in the Calcutta 'Telegraph', Stephen Hugh-Jones, mocked it with the deliberately anachronistic "If I built it in, is author ID Bacon?", attributing this to a derisive William Shakespeare; and counter-"proved" that Shakespeare wrote Bacon by converting the latter's famous opening phrase "What is truth, said jesting Pilate..." into "Truth? A lasting jape. Hide it. WS". 
Long before Love's Labour's Lost, honorificabilitudo appears in a Latin charter of 1187, and occurs as honorificabilitudinitas in 1300. Dante cites honorificabilitudinitate as a typical example of a long word in De Vulgari Eloquentia II. vii. It also occurs in the works of Rabelais and in The Complaynt of Scotland (1549).
The year after the publication of Love's Labours Lost it is used by Thomas Nashe in his 1599 pamphlet Nashe’s Lenten Stuff: "Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum", referring to the exotic medicinal plant Guaiacum, the name of which was also "exotic", being the first Native American word imported into the English language. The word also appears in Marston's Dutch Courtezan (1605).
In 1993 U.S. News & World Report used the word in its original meaning with reference to a debate about new words being used in the game of Scrabble: "Honorificabilitudinity and the requirements of Scrabble fans dictated that the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary's makers be open-minded enough to include dweeb (a boringly conventional person), droob (an unprepossessing or contemptible person, esp. a man), and droog (a member of a gang: a young ruffian)." In reality, however, it contains more letters of the alphabet than what the Scrabble board can accommodate.
Jeff Noon's 2001 book of experimental poetry, Cobralingus used the fictional Cobralingus Engine to remix this word in the style of electronic music to create a prose poem entitled Pornostatic Processor.
In Suzanne Selfors' 2011 children's novel Smells Like Treasure, her spelling champion character, Hercules Simple, uses the word to describe the main character in the book.
- http://www.innocentenglish.com/cool-interesting-and-strange-facts/cool-strange-and-interesting-facts-page-3-3.html%7CSee fact #99
- K. K. Ruthven, Faking Literature, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p.102
- Samuel Schoenbaum, 'Shakespeare's Lives, Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.1991 p.421
- firstname.lastname@example.org,Jewish Magazine. "Shakespeare and the Jewish Connection". Jewishmag.com. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- Stephen Hugh-Jones, "Fantasy as Fact", The Telegraph, 6 June, 2012
- "Dante: De Vulgari Eloquentia II". 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- Bailey, Richard W (2004). "Part I - American English: Its Origins and History". In Edward Finegan; John R. Rickford. Language in the USA: Themes for the Twenty-first Century. Cambridge University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-521-77747-6.
- Douglas Hamer, review of Schoenbaum's "Shakespeare's Lives", in Review of English Studies, 22 (1971)
- Jennifer Fisher; "Droobs and Dweebs"; U.S. News & World Report (Washington, D.C.); Oct 11, 1993.
- Jeff Noon; Cobralingus. 2001. Hove UK. Codex Books.
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