Longest Word In A Top 40 Lyric:

For years, the longest (dictionary) words to be featured in song lyrics were all 16 letters long (see below). We launched a quest for a 17 letter word. Months went by with no qualifying suggestions. But then, in January 2004, we received an email from one D. Nazarian of Cambridge University who had detected the following lyric in the rap of So Solid Crew's 'Broken Silence' (a hit in Sep 2003):

    "I guess we need more stability; It's like we're imprisoned in the ghetto and it's getting to me ; To the point where I'm feeling institutionalised; Look in my eyes; U'll see pain in it; But who can decide?"

Thus, institutionalised (17 letters) becomes the longest dictionary word to feature in the lyric of any hit.

Our offer of a free CD for any reader suggesting a word of 17-letters or more to be featured in a top 40 lyric still holds though so please don't stop searching (see the list below for stimulation.)

The next longest (dictionary) words (and the longest to be sung) which we've been able to come up with, all 16 letters long, are:

Misunderstanding: featured in...

  • "Just A Little Misunderstanding" - The Contours (1970)
  • "Strawberry Fields Forever" - The Beatles (1976) / Candy Flip (1990)
  • "With A Little Luck" - Wings (1978)
  • "Sacrifice" - Elton John (1990)
  • "Brown Sugar" - D'Angelo (1995)

    Responsibilities: featured in...

  • "Ain't Nothing Goin' On But The Rent" - Gwen Guthrie (1986)
  • "One" - Busta Rhymes featuring Erykah Badu (1998)

    Incomprehensible: featured in...

  • "Lay All Your Love On Me" - Abba (1981) / Erasure (on the 'Abba-Esque EP', 1992)

    Extraterrestrial: featured in...

  • "My Name Is" - Eminem (1999)

    Indefatigability: featured in a spoken sample in...

  • "Summer's Magic" - Mark Summers (1991).
          The very same sample also contains a 15-letter word ("manoeuvrability") and a
          14-letter one ("susceptibility"), probably making it the biggest mouthful in any hit!


    We're relying on everyhit.com readers to come up with other 17-letter or, better still, longer words. We'll send a CD (of their choice) to the first five people to tell us a word (shown a conventional dictionary) which has 17 or more letters and which has featured in a lyric to a Top 40 hit. To stimulate your memory, here's a list of the longest (non-technical) words:

    16 letters
    autobiographical
    catastrophically
    characterisation
    conspiratorially
    constitutionally
    conversationally
    depressurisation
    disproportionate
    enthusiastically
    environmentalism
    environmentalist
    expressionlessly
    incomprehensible
    incontrovertible
    incontrovertibly
    indefatigability
    melodramatically
    misunderstanding
    overcompensating
    prestidigitation
    psychopathically
    responsibilities
    superciliousness
    uncharacteristic
    unpleasantnesses
    unpredictability
    17 letters
    anthropomorphised
    compartmentalised
    conscientiousness
    constitutionality
    contrapunctuation
    conversationalist
    counterproductive
    electromechanical
    environmentalists
    inconsequentially
    indestructibility
    indistinguishable
    institutionalised
    interdepartmental
    misinterpretation
    misunderstandings

    18 letters
    characteristically

    20 letters
    uncharacteristically

    If you think of any suitably long lyrics, please use the 'contact' link from the main page to let us know. Thank you.

    Footnote:
    Quantum Jump's 1979 hit "The Lone Ranger" contains the lyric "'Taumatawhakatangihangakoayauo-tamateaturipukakapikimaungahoro-nukypokaiwhenuakitanatahu." This is largely gibberish though its origin is the 57-letter Maori place name 'Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauatamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu'. Our Maori expert informs us that "though this term is promoted as being one of the longest words in the world, grammatically it is more of a phrase; by definition, it simply talks about the place where Tamatea Pokaiwhenua played his flute to his lover." Given that "The Lone Ranger" track is supposedly performed (in role) by a native American it is, in any case, odd that the track features such a Maori utterance!

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