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Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft[1] or Donau­dampf­schifffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft (German: [ˌdoːnaʊ​ˈdampf​ʃɪffaːɐ̯ts​ˌʔelɛktʁitsiˈtɛːtn̩​ˈhaʊpt​bəˌtʁiːps​vɛʁk​baʊ​ˈʔʊntɐ​bəˈʔamtn̩​gəˌzɛlʃaft] (listen); English: Association for Subordinate Officials of the Main Maintenance Building of the Danube Steam Shipping Electrical Services) was an alleged suborganization of the Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­gesellschaft (DDSG) in pre-World War I Vienna, Austria, a shipping company for transporting passengers and cargo on the Danube. The DDSG still exists today in the form of the now-private companies DDSG-Blue Danube Schifffahrt GmbH (passenger transport) and the DDSG-Cargo GmbH. However, there is no evidence that the Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft ever existed.

As a compound word[edit]

Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft is a compound word that serves as an example of the virtually unlimited compounding of nouns that is possible in many Germanic languages. According to the 1996 Guinness Book of World Records, it is the longest word published[clarification needed] in the German language.

The German spelling reform of 1996 abolished the rule that compound words with triple consonants coalesce them into double consonants. The reform affects noun adjunct Schiffahrt, itself a compound of Schiff ("ship") and Fahrt ("transportation"), which is now spelled Schifffahrt (with three "f"s). A modern form of spelling would use 80 letters, Donau­dampf­schifffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft. However, as the compound is (allegedly) a historical name, the original spelling with 79 letters is kept. That compound word contains the uncommon plural Elektrizitäten; Elektrizität ("electricity") is normally used only in the singular.

Long compound words are used sparsely in German conversation, but considerably more often than in English. A pre-World War I Danube steamship captain could be referred to as Donau­dampf­schiff­kapitän more naturally than with the somewhat contrived title Donau­dampf­schifffahrts­gesellschafts­kapitän ("Danube steamboating association captain"). According to the 1995 Guinness Book of World Records, the longest German word in everyday usage is Rechts­schutz­versicherungs­gesellschaften ("legal protection insurance companies") at 39 letters, narrowly beating the description of HDLC as a bitorientiertes Daten­übertragungs­steuerungs­verfahren.

Alternative word with 121 letters is unofficial clone of this word: "Oberdonaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschafthauptsitzeingangsbereichlufttemperatur"


Donau Dampf Schifffahrts Elektrizitäten Haupt Betriebswerk Bau unter Beamten Gesellschaft
Danube steam shipping (+ interfix) electricities main maintenance shop building under officials' association

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ltd, Not Panicking. "h2g2 - The Longest German Word - Edited Entry". Retrieved 2021-05-27.

External links[edit]