Because I was afraid to speak
When I was just a lad
My father gave me nose a tweak
And told me I was bad
But then one day I learned a word
That saved me achin' nose,
The biggest word you ever heard,
And this is how it goes...
Humans can sometime have a strange way of naming things. Below is a collection of some of the longests names for various people, places, and things. To spare you from your tables being rendered too wide resulting from these very long words, names longer than 60 characters have been split (unhyphenated) into multiple lines1.
The award for the longest name for a person belongs to a German immigrant to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The name he was given at birth, and which somehow fit on his passport was:
(First and "middle" names)
Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert
Irvim John Kenneth Loyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy
Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor Willian Xerxes Yancy
In case you didn't notice, he has one given name for every letter of the alphabet plus his surname. Needless to say, he shortened it, and was commonly known as Mr. Hubert Wolfe, though officially it was said that he signed his name Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, Sr.
The children's author, Jane Yolen wrote a book called The Longest Name on the Block about a young Italian boy whose mother would call him home for dinner using his full name - Timothy Michael Karl Emmanuel Sanford Reginald Brown. Not exactly record breaking, but a fun children's book.
The longest name in the Bible is Mahershalalhashbaz which can be found in Isaiah 8:1.
You can also see Albin Hallin for a long and unusual name.
The longest scientific name for an animal is given to a stratiomyid fly whose Genus and species is:
Information about common animal names was provided by Apollyon. Many thanks!
The longest common names for an animals go to:
Black-crowned Central American Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri oerstedii)
Canadian Swallowtail Tiger Butterfly (Papilio glaucas)
The longest single word name goes to Hippopotamus amphibius, who you all know simply as the:
I traveled all around the world
And everywhere I went
I'd use this word and all would say
"There goes a clever gent"
When Dukes and maharajas
Pass the time of day with me
I say my special word and then
They ask me out to tea
Many people don't realize that the true, original name of Los Angeles, California was:
El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de
These 55 Spanish
to, "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Little Portion." That's quite a long name for a city most of us refer to simply as "LA
For quite a long time Wales held the record for the longest place name with 60 characters (59 letters):
See also: this and this
This name translates to "The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio's of the red cave." It should be noted that there a several web sites using this as part of their domain name.
However, there is a hill near Porangahau in New Zealand based on a Maori name which is nearly 50% longer at 85 letters:
The name translates to "The place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed, and swallowed mountains, known as the land-eater, played his flute for his loved one."
More amazing still is that the city most of the world refers to as Bangkok, is actually called something else in Thailand:
These 155 letters which truly create longest place name in the world, translates to "The land of angels, the great city of immortality, of devine gems, the great angelic land unconquerable land of nine nobel gems, the royal city, a pleasant capital place of the Royal Palace, eternal land of angels and reincarnated spirits predestined and created by the highest Devas." That's a mouthful! Luckily it is abbreviated for common use.
While usually called Marat/Sade, the official name for this movie is:
The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as
Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under
the Direction of the Marquis de Sade
While now commonly known as "...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead" (which is long by itself), the original name for this band was:
The Clouds That Fondle Jagged Crags And Raging Storms
Conspire And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
The longest album title is by Chumbawumba which is most often called The Boy Bands Have Won is actually titled:
The boy bands have won, and all the copyists and the tribute
bands and the TV talent show producers have won, if we allow
our culture to be shaped by mimicry, whether from lack of
ideas or from exaggerated respect. You should never try to
freeze culture. What you can do is recycle that culture.
Take your older brother's hand-me-down jacket and re-style
it, re-fashion it to the point where it becomes your own.
But don't just regurgitate creative history, or hold art and
music and literature as fixed, untouchable and kept under
glass. The people who try to 'guard' any particular form of
music are, like the copyists and manufactured bands, doing
it the worst disservice, because the only thing that you can
do to music that will damage it is not change it, not make
it your own. Because then it dies, then it's over, then it's
done, and the boy bands have won.
Honorable mention goes to Fiona Apple's album often shorted to When the Pawn... It's full title is:
When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts He Thinks Like A King What
He Knows Throws The Blows When He Goes To The Fight And
He'll Win The Whole Thing `Fore He Enters The Ring There's
No Body To Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You
Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand And Remember That Depth Is
The Greatest Of Heights And If You Know Where You Stand,
Then You Know Where To Land And If You Fall It Won't Matter,
Cuz You'll Know That You're Right
Soundgarden has an album which may qualify for the longest single word title:
There is the obvious Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins, but the true longest song title from a professionally released album is by Christine Lavin called:
Regretting what I said to you when you called me at 11:00 on
Friday morning to tell me that 1:00 Friday afternoon you
were gonna leave your office, go downstairs, hail a cab, to
go out to the airport, to catch a plane, to go skiing in the
Alps for two weeks. Not that I wanted to go with you; I
wasn't able to leave town, I'm not a very good skier, I
couldn't expect you to pay my way, but after going out with
you for three years, I don't like surprises. (A musical
You may think that was just the lyrics written out, but none of that is included in the words of the song. If instead you're thinking, "Who cares! That wasn't a hit song." then here are the longest titles for Top 40 hits:
Longest Hit Song Title
The Faces and Rod Stewart sang this number 12 hit:
You Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything (Even Take The Dog
For A Walk, Mend A Fuse, Fold Away The Ironing Board, Or Any
Other Domestic Shortcomings)
The Longest Hit Song Title without any Brackets or Parenthesis
The Charlatans barely made it with this number 38 hit:
I Never Want An Easy Life If Me And He Were Ever To Get
Scientific words and names can become extremely long very easily, but here is an example of the longest name for an enzyme which has been cited in multiple scientific journals:
This is the expanded name for a tryptophan compound made up of 267 amino acids described with the following chemical composition: C1289H2051N343O375S8
So when the cat has got your tongue
There's no need for dismay
Just summon up this word
And then you've got a lot to say
But better use it carefully
Or it could change your life
One night I said it to my girl
And now my girl's my wife!
Any other "longest names" you can think of? Send me a /msg, and I'll add them here.
The song quotes are taken from Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, in the Disney movie, Mary Poppins.
1I know I said that I purposely broke up the words into 60 character pieces so that your tables would render correctly. Unfortunately they still may have a problem due to the long words in the soft link table below. Oh well...
2The Genus species name provided above is the longest scientific name approved by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). There have been numerous suggested names that were much longer, but they were either disapproved or invalidated by this commission.