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So, as you probably know, each and every element in the Periodic Table has its own unique chemical symbol, which is either one, two, or three letters long. For instance, Oxygen is represented as O and Copper as Cu. So how about combining these symbols to form words?

For instance, Barium and Neodymium would give us Band, or Chlorine-Americium-Phosphorus would give us Clamp. So how long can these words get? I've managed the following examples:

Bromine-Oxygen-Carbon-Cobalt-Lithium: Broccoli (8)

Boron-Iodine-Carbon-Yttrium-Chlorine-Einsteinium: Bicycles (8)

Thorium-Uranium-Neodymium-Erbium-Oxygen-Uranium-Sulphur: Thunderous (10)

So, community, can you beat my attempts? For clarification, I will allow any word on dictionary.com, including alternate forms of the word (plurals, verb conjugations, etc.). The word must be constructed using only chemical symbols that are recognised according to the Wikipedia page. You may use any symbol as many times as you like in your word.

Victory will go to the person who can give the longest word in characters, not the word made from the most symbols.

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closed as too broad by Aza Jul 27 '15 at 10:26

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Is there a restriction you want to add that each symbol used only once? $\endgroup$ – skv Nov 23 '14 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ In some musics, the singer sings "Nananana-nanana-na-na-na-na-na-na-nananana...", Does this counts as "Sodium-Sodium-Sodium-Sodium-Sodium..."? $\endgroup$ – Victor Stafusa Nov 23 '14 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ Related (and amusing): a list of elements spelled with elements $\endgroup$ – Julian Rosen Nov 23 '14 at 15:15
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    $\begingroup$ Are D for deuterium and T for tritium, both hydrogen isotopes, allowed? What about A, the former symbol for argon, and Cb, the former symbol for niobium? $\endgroup$ – MackTuesday Nov 23 '14 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ Not a winner, but I wanted to point out: sulfur uranium phosphorus erbium calcium lithium francium silver iodine lithium sulfur titanium carbon, spells SUPErCaLiFrAgILiSTiC. $\endgroup$ – Nate Eldredge Nov 25 '14 at 15:37
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One of my favourite words, that's 29 characters long is:

Floccinaucinihilipilification - the estimation of something as being worthless.

It's quite useful for describing what the contestants find on a fair few reality TV programmes! As most of the letters are covered off by only a few elements there's quite a lot of repetition...

Fl - Flerovium
O - Oxygen
C - Carbon
C - Carbon
I - Iodine
N - Nitrogen
Au - Gold
C - Carbon
I - Iodine
N - Nitrogen
I - Iodine
H - Hydrogen
I - Iodine
Li - Lithium
P - Phosphorus
I - Iodine
Li - Lithium
F - Fluorine
I - Iodine
C - Carbon
At - Astatine
I - Iodine
O - Oxygen
N - Nitrogen

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  • 16
    $\begingroup$ Nooooo I started posting this answer 7 minutes ago but I couldn't figure out spoiler markup! $\endgroup$ – MackTuesday Nov 23 '14 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ If it makes you feel any better I had to go to the shops before they closed, otherwise I'd have posted it half an hour ago @Mack :-)... and I think you still got in there first! $\endgroup$ – Ben Nov 23 '14 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ crap, that's long $\endgroup$ – awesomepi Dec 14 '14 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ Couldn't you have used floccinaucinihilipilificatiousness instead? It's 33 letters. $\endgroup$ – the dark wanderer Feb 8 '17 at 9:00
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Perhaps this is cheating, but my answer (inspired by the Wikipedia page on the longest English words) is

YArDs

Formed by

Yttrium, Argon, Darmstadtium

Note:

This word is, of course, much shorter than any other words given so far. The reason, though, that it's longer is that it's a yard long.

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  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @COTO Of course. It's a joke - none of the words given are longer than a yard. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Nov 23 '14 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ @HDE Really depends on the font being used ;) $\endgroup$ – Voo Nov 23 '14 at 16:45
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for thinking outside the box (although PArSeC is much longer) (oh, TeRaPArSeC). $\endgroup$ – MackTuesday Nov 23 '14 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe we could go with InFInITe then? $\endgroup$ – Psychemaster Nov 24 '14 at 10:41
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    $\begingroup$ Or INFINITe @Psychemaster :-). $\endgroup$ – Ben Nov 24 '14 at 11:50
24
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nonrepresentationalisms (23 characters is the maximum that can be formed) as

No+N+Re+P+Re+Se+N+Ta+Ti+O+Na+Li+Sm+S

Nobelium+Nitrogen+Rhenium+Phosphorus+Rhenium+Selenium+Nitrogen+Tantalum+Titanium+Oxygen+Sodium+Lithium+Samarium+Sulphur

There is a word

hypothalamicohypophyseal

which is not listed in every dictionary which has 24 characters

If only unique usage (each element being used once is a condition) then

There is a tie "hypercoagulabilities" and "hyperconsciousnesses" ("HYPErCoAgULaBiLiTiEs" and "HYPErCoNScIOUSnEsSeS") - 20 characters

My Source

Google which led to
http://www.nandor.org/math/chemwords/chemwords.htm

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ah... I guess that may be a problem with this puzzle. $\endgroup$ – For I In Range Nov 23 '14 at 14:36
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    $\begingroup$ :) Thats a problem with any puzzle on this site $\endgroup$ – skv Nov 23 '14 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ I have added the names just to ensure there is some value add $\endgroup$ – skv Nov 23 '14 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ I feel like google was a bit of a cheat, but +1 for facts. $\endgroup$ – warspyking Nov 23 '14 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @skv: here's your 23 letter word too: datagenetics.com/blog/december12012/index.html $\endgroup$ – user5995 Nov 25 '14 at 1:22
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29 characters

floccinaucinihilipilification
Fl O C C I N Au C I N I H I Li P I Li F I C At I O N
114, the atomic number of Flerovium, is the highest one used so far

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I wrote a script (http://pastebin.com/T60RQdXa) that takes a wordlist and outputs the largest word that can be written as a concatenation of chemical symbols. Calling python chemWords.py /usr/share/dict/words yields "NoNRePReSeNTaTiONAl" (19 chars). Calling with a more complete dictionary gives "FlOCCINAuCINIHILiPILiFICAtIONS" (30 chars).

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    $\begingroup$ The rules actually allow plural, so this is currently the highest scoring answer. $\endgroup$ – Mast Nov 25 '14 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ Incidentally I also turned to programming and wrote a really bare-bones C# program and a regex. And yes, the regex is stupidly long, but it does work. $\endgroup$ – Pharap Nov 30 '14 at 7:11
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Placing the emphasis on "the longest word made from chemical symbols" - embroidery on a bag!

(From https://secure.flickr.com/photos/rjw76/15497828388/ )

PuFFeRfISH Bag

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4
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Ben and andrepd already came up with the longest, FlOCCINaUCINIHILiPILiFICAtION (or its plural, FlOCCINaUCINIHILiPILiFICAtIONS)—though note that this word was made possible only recently by IUPAC's adoption in 2012 of "Fl" as the symbol for flerovium. Before 2012, the longest word would have been the 23-letter NONRePReSeNTaTiONAlISmS, as reported by skv.

Incidentally, it's interesting to consider what happens if we restrict ourselves to one- or two-letter element symbols. For one-letter symbols, there is one 14-letter example:

PSYCHOPANNYCHY

Or if repeated symbols are forbidden:

WICKYUPS, UNBISHOP, CUSHIONY, CHIBOUKS, BOYCHIKS

For two-letter symbols, there is the following 18-letter example:

IrRePrEsSiBiLiTiEs

Or if repeated symbols are forbidden:

ThErMoLaBiLiTiEs, IrRePaRaBiLiTiEs, InSePaRaBiLiTiEs, InAlTeRaBiLiTiEs

The above examples are taken from the Word Ways article "Elemental Words Revisited". That article (along with a follow-up by Darryl Francis, "King's Moves in the Periodic Table") also describes many other types of words formed from the chemical symbols, such as the longest words whose symbols are in increasing or decreasing order of atomic number, the longest words for each group or period in the periodic table, the words which can be spelled the most different ways, etc.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 for answering these variations of the original question, and for the citation. $\endgroup$ – Rosie F Jun 1 '16 at 13:54
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A pretty common word with 20 characters, in British spelling:

internationalisation
Iodine-Nitrogen-Tellurium-Radon-Astatine-Iodine-Oxygen-Nitrogen-Aluminum-Iodine-Sulfur-Astatine-Iodine-Oxygen-Nitrogen

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  • $\begingroup$ That's more like I18N $\endgroup$ – SztupY Nov 30 '14 at 9:10
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    $\begingroup$ @SztupY I18N would be Iodine-Argon-Nitrogen. $\endgroup$ – hexafraction Nov 30 '14 at 13:48
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It's certainly not as long as other answers, and the optimal answer appears to have been posted, but I've always liked:

ThErMoDyNAmICs

Which is...

Thorium, erbium, molybdenum, dysprosium, nitrogen, americium, iodine, cesium (alternatively carbon and sulphur)

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