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Lopado­temacho­selacho­galeo­kranio­leipsano­drim­hypo­trimmato­silphio­parao­melito­katakechy­meno­kichl­epi­kossypho­phatto­perister­alektryon­opte­kephallio­kigklo­peleio­lagoio­siraio­baphe­tragano­pterygon is a fictional dish mentioned in Aristophanes' comedy Assemblywomen.[1]

It is a transliteration of the Ancient Greek word λοπαδο­τεμαχο­σελαχο­γαλεο­κρανιο­λειψανο­δριμ­υπο­τριμματο­σιλφιο­καραβο­μελιτο­κατακεχυ­μενο­κιχλ­επι­κοσσυφο­φαττο­περιστερ­αλεκτρυον­οπτο­κεφαλλιο­κιγκλο­πελειο­λαγῳο­σιραιο­βαφη­τραγανο­πτερύγων. Liddell & Scott (LSJ) translate this as "name of a dish compounded of all kinds of dainties, fish, flesh, fowl, and sauces."[2]

The Greek word has 172 letters, 78 syllables, and 182 Latin characters. It is the longest word ever to appear in literature according to Guinness World Records (1990).[3]

Variant forms[edit]

The form of the word quoted here is in fact, the one listed in LSJ (1940) and quoted therein as having been amended by August Meineke;[2] in contrast to this and for example, F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart's 1907 edition of Aristophanis Comoediae (used in the Assemblywomen story) reads (difference in bold):


The dish was a fricassée, with at least 16 sweet and sour ingredients, including the following:[3]


The term is used in the ultimate chorus of the play when Blepyrus (and the audience) are summoned to the first feast laid on by the new system.

[1167] And you others, let your light steps too keep time.
[1168] Very soon we'll be eating
[1170] lepado­temacho­selacho­galeo­kranio­leipsano­drim­ypo­trimmato­silphio­paro­melito­katakechy­meno­kichl­epi­kossypho­phatto­perister­alektryon­opte­kephalio­kigklo­peleio­lagoio­siraio­baphe­tragano­pterygon. [sic]
[1175] Come, quickly, seize hold of a plate, snatch up a cup, and let's run to secure a place at table. The rest will have their jaws at work by this time.

— translation ed. Eugene O'Neill, 1938[1]

English translations[edit]

In English prose translation by Leo Strauss (1966), this Greek word is rendered as "oysters-saltfish-skate-sharks'-heads-left-over-vinegar-dressing-laserpitium-leek-with-honey-sauce-thrush-blackbird-pigeon-dove-roast-cock's-brains-wagtail-cushat-hare-stewed-in-new-wine-gristle-of-veal-pullet's-wings".[5]

English verse translation by Benjamin Bickley Rogers (1902) follows the original meter and the original way of composition:


Older English verse translation by Rev. Rowland Smith (1833) destroys the originally composed word and breaks it in several verses:

All sorts of good cheer;
Limpets, oysters, salt fish,
And a skate too a dish,
Lampreys, with the remains
Of sharp sauce and birds' brains,
With honey so luscious,
Plump blackbirds and thrushes,
Cocks' combs and ring doves,
Which each epicure loves,
Also wood-pigeons blue,
With juicy snipes too,
And to close all, O rare!
The wings of jugged hare!

The translation edited by O'Neill, quoted above, does not translate this word and uses only a transliteration.

See also[edit]