I was wearing my Bacon t-shirt, and got to wondering, what's the longest word made solely with the atomic symbols of every atom in a compound?

For example, ${CO_{2}}$ would be coo, since there are two ${O}$ atoms.


5 Answers 5


A possible eight is

Choo-choo a childish name for a locomotive which chemically is oxalic acid ${C_{2}H_{2}}O_{4}$

  • $\begingroup$ But then you need to rearrange CCHHOOOO which my dictionary tells me isn't a word. $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Mar 13, 2017 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ OP has said in another comment that anagrams are fine, so I think this would be allowed. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 13, 2017 at 9:42
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I thought per HeliumRubidium's comment that anagrams are OxygenPotassium. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Mar 13, 2017 at 9:43

A possible six (without anagramming):

Co2As, whose existence I think can be confirmed by this article, becomes cocoas.


I have found 1 five:

sodium monosulfide - Na2S - NANAS (5)

And lots of fours. Here are just some:

dicobalt phosphide - CO2P - COOP (4)
barium fluoride - BaF2 - BAFF (4)
barium selenide - BaSe - BASE (4)
calcium selenide - CaSe - CASE (4)
copper (II) fluoride - CuF2 - CUFF (4)
copper (II) telluride - CuTe - CUTE (4)
gallium (II) telluride - GaTe - GATE (4)
molybdenum sulfide - MoS2 - MOSS (4)

Can't find anything longer than five...

I believe I have reached the Fluorine Iodine Nitrogen Iodine Sulfur Hydrogen


We need a real chemist to determine what's actually possible, I think. But I have a plausible 6:

H / O==Te \ Cl

would yield


[EDITED to add: No, duh, that won't do because I'm splitting up the letters of a chemical symbol and that isn't allowed. Thanks to Beastly Gerbil for pointing that out in comments. I'm leaving this here in case anything in it turns out to be useful to others.]

Does that compound exist? I don't see why not. If you take a look at

the box at top right of the Wikipedia page on organotellurium chemistry you'll see a similar structure with an arbitrary hydrocarbon radical in place of the chlorine. In ordinary organic chemistry one can commonly substitute a halogen for a hydrocarbon radical, and looking at the various halides also present in that box it seems like the same is true with tellurium. Note also that the corresponding compound with carbon in the middle is formyl chloride which definitely exists.

But I'm not a chemist and maybe I'm making illegitimate analogies here.

  • $\begingroup$ I think that placing H between T and e would be against the rules, as Te is 1 element, not 2. Also as far as I am aware the word has to be in the order the formula appears, you can't anagram. $\endgroup$ Mar 12, 2017 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ Ohhh, you're definitely right about not being able to split the Te. I missed that. As for order matching the formula, though, I don't see any such requirement in the question and the order of things in a formula is often pretty arbitrary. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Mar 12, 2017 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, “arbitrary”? Well, not so much. IUPAC does conventionally establish standards which are rather formal and thorough. $\endgroup$ Mar 12, 2017 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ Anagrams are fine, but splitting the Te would not be. $\endgroup$
    – Herb
    Mar 12, 2017 at 22:59

I MAY have a 10 if you'll allow 1) a hyphenated word with 2) an extra, unnecessary character on the end...

enter image description here
...and 3) a complete disregard for science!


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