List of the longest English words with one syllable

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This is a list of candidates for the longest English word of one syllable, i.e. monosyllables with the most letters. A list of 9,123 English monosyllables published in 1957 includes three ten-letter words: scraunched, scroonched, and squirreled.[1] Guinness World Records lists scraunched and strengthed.[2] Other sources include words as long or longer. Some candidates are questionable on grounds of spelling, pronunciation, or status as obsolete, dialect, proper noun, or nonce word.

List[edit]

word pronunciation letters source notes
schtroumpfed /ˈʃtrmpft/ 12 Eco[3] The original French name for smurf is schtroumpf, and is used as an all-purpose noun and verb by Smurfs and in imitation of them. The form schtroumpfed is used in Alistair McEwen's English translation of an essay by Umberto Eco: "Let us suppose that an English speaker of average culture hears a Schtroumpf poet reciting I schtroumpfed lonely as a schtroumpf." However, this is intended to represent the Schtroumpf language rather than English.[3]
squirrelled /ˈskwɜrld/ 11 LPD;[4] MWOD[5] compressed American pronunciation of a word which in British RP always has two syllables /ˈskwɪrəld/. The monosyllabic pronunciation rhymes with world, curled. In the United States the given spelling is a variant of the more usual squirreled: see -led and -lled spellings.
broughammed /ˈbrmd/ 11 Sc.Am.[6] meaning "travelled by brougham", by analogy with bussed, biked, carted etc. Rhymes with fumed, zoomed. Suggested by poet William Harmon in a competition to find the longest monosyllable.
schmaltzed /ˈʃmɔːltst/, /ˈʃmɒltst/, /ˈʃmæltst/ 10 OED[7] meaning "imparted a sentimental atmosphere to" e.g. of music; with a 1969 attestation for the past tense.
squirreled /ˈskwɜrld/ 10 LPD;[4] MWOD;[5] Moser[1] the more usual American spelling of squirrelled.
scrootched /ˈskrt/ 10 AHD[8] variant of scrooched, meaning "crouched"
scroonched /ˈskrʊnʃt/ 10 W3NID;[9] Moser[1] variant of scrunched, meaning "squeezed".
scraunched /ˈskrɔːnʃt/ 10 W3NID;[9] Moser[1] a "chiefly dialect" word, meaning "crunched".
broughamed /ˈbrmd/ 10 Shaw[10] a shorter variant of broughammed, used by George Bernard Shaw in a piece of journalism.
strengthed /ˈstrɛŋθt/ 10 OED[11] an obsolete verb meaning "strengthen", "force", and "summon one's strength". The latest citation is 1614 (1479 for strengthed), at which time the Early Modern English pronunciation would have been disyllabic.
schwartzed /ˈʃwɔrtst/ 10 [12] meaning "responded 'Schwartz' to a player without making eye-contact" in the game Zoom Schwartz Profigliano.
schnappsed /ˈʃnæpst/ 10 Sc.Am.[6] meaning "drank schnapps"; proposed by poet George Starbuck in the same competition won by his friend William Harmon.

Proper names[edit]

Some nine-letter proper names remain monosyllabic when adding a tenth letter and apostrophe to form the possessive:

It is productive in English to convert a (proper) noun into an eponymous verb or adjective:

  • A 2007–08 promotion in France used the slogan "Do you Schweppes?", implying a past tense Schweppesed (11 letters) for the putative verb.[14]
  • Schwartzed (10 letters) has been used to mean "(re)designed in the style of Martha Schwartz"[15]
  • Schwartzed has also been used to mean "crossed swords with Justice Alan R. Schwartz"[16]
  • Schmertzed (10 letters) has been used to mean "received undue largesse from New York City through the intervention of negotiator Eric Schmertz"[17]

Contrived endings[edit]

In a 1970 article in Word Ways, Ralph G. Beaman converts past participles ending -ed into nouns, allowing regular plurals with -s. He lists five verbs in Webster's Third International generating 10-letter monosyllables scratcheds, screecheds, scroungeds, squelcheds, stretcheds; from the verb strength in Webster's Second International he forms the 11-letter strengtheds.[18]

The past tense ending -ed and the archaic second person singular ending -st can be combined into -edst; for example "In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul" (Psalms 138:3). While this ending is usually pronounced as a separate syllable from the verb stem, it may be abbreviated -'dst to indicate elision. Attested examples include scratch'dst[19] and stretch'dst,[20] each of which has one syllable spelled with ten letters plus apostrophe.

Onomatopoeia[edit]

Onomatopoeiac monosyllables may be extended without limit to represent a long drawn-out sound or utterance. For example, Yann Martel's 1995 novel Self includes a 45-letter Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh and a 35-letter Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Moser, Henry M.; John J. Dreher, Herbert J. Oyer (June 1957). Technical report No. 57 (Report). Ohio State University Research Foundation. cited in PMC (1978). "Review: English monosyllables". In Albert Ross Eckler. Word Ways (Indianapolis). 11–12: 118. 
  2. ^ "Longest monosyllabic English words". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Eco, Umberto (1999). "§4.7.2: Meaning and the text". Kant and the Platypus: Essays on Language and Cognition. translated by Alistair McEwen. Harcourt Brace. 277–8. ISBN 0-15-100447-1. 
  4. ^ a b c Wells, John C. (2000). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (2nd ed.). Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-36467-7. 
  5. ^ a b Spelling: "2squirrel". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
    Pronunciation: "1squirrel". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  6. ^ a b Gardner, Martin (April 1979). "Mathematical games". Scientific American 240 (4). 
  7. ^ "schmaltz, v.". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). 1989. 
  8. ^ Joseph P. Pickett et al., ed. (2000). "scrooch". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-82517-2. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  9. ^ a b Webster's Third New International Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. 1966. ISBN 0-7135-1038-2. 
  10. ^ Shaw, George Bernard (1932). Our Theatres in the Nineties. London: Constable and Company. p. 205. ISBN 1-4067-4302-X. "...horsed and broughamed, painted and decorated, furnished and upholstered..." 
  11. ^ "strength, v.". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). 1989. 
  12. ^ Cullen, Ruth (2006). The Little Black Book of Party Games: The Essential Guide to Throwing the Best Bashes. Illustrated by Kerren Barbas. Peter Pauper Press. p. 14. ISBN 1-59359-919-6. "If the first person has been schwartzed, he can either look at a new person and say "Zoom," or send it right back to the second person by saying "Pifigiano"" 
  13. ^ "Scoughall". Scripture Union Holidays. 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-15. "Scoughall (pronounced “skole”) is in East Lothian, not far from North Berwick." 
  14. ^ "Do you Schweppes" (in French). Orangina Schweppes. December 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  15. ^ Diesenhouse, Susan (June 26, 2004). "Landscapes of the mind". Boston Globe. archinect. Retrieved 2009-01-15. "So distinctive is her style that her name has become a Euro design verb, as in Barclays at Canary Wharf is being 'Schwartzed.' "" 
  16. ^ Mandel, Roberta G. (Spring 2005). "The End of an Era at the Third District Court of Appeal: The Retirement of Judge Robert L. Shevin, Judge Mario P. Goderich and Chief Judge Alan R. Schwartz" (PDF). The Record (Tallahassee: Florida Bar, Appellate Section) XI (1): 8. Retrieved 2009-01-14. "there is no other jurist who has inspired the formation of a new terminology:“to be Schwartzed” or “to get Schwartzed” or “passing the Schwartz test.”" [dead link]
  17. ^ Barbanel, Josh (October 23, 1990). "Negotiator's Quiet Style Elicits Loud Protest". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-15. "I have now turned Schmertz into a verb and a noun," the former Mayor said. "If you have been abused, we say you have been Schmertzed. If you get an unwarranted and undeserved payment from the City of New York, you say, 'Thank you Mr. Mayor, for the Schmertz.' " 
  18. ^ Beaman, Ralph G. (1970). "Syllabilities". Word Ways (4): 79. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  19. ^ Woolbert, Charles Henry (1922). Better Speech: A Textbook of Speech Training for Secondary Schools. p. 103. 
  20. ^ Shoemaker, Rachel Walter Hinkle (1898). Advanced elocution. p. 129. ISBN 0-89609-169-4. 
  21. ^ Martel, Yann (1996-04-23). Self: a novel. Alfred A. Knopf Canada. pp. 215–216. ISBN 978-0-394-28160-5. Retrieved 5 November 2011. "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh. Ahhhhhhh. Ohjustonemorepiece! Ahhhhhhhhh such rapture. Amen!" 

External links[edit]