Feeds

Germans purge selves of indigestible 63-letter word

'Bulp. Blorp. RkReUAUG! RkReUAUG! Phew, that feels better'

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A change in EU law has allowed the Germans to bin their longest word: the 63-letter monster Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.

According to the Telegraph, the monstrosity was spawned back in 1999 in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and translates as "law delegating beef label monitoring", in bite-sized English pieces.

Originally a product of the war on mad cow disease, the term has been retired as the EU is "calling a halt to the testing of healthy cattle at abattoirs".

Apparently, even Germans found the word a tad excessive - despite their penchant for extended compound nouns - and abbreviated it to the hardly more plausible RkReUAUG. Interestingly, this is the exactly the sound which can regularly be heard coming from Vulture Central's toilets of a Friday afternoon as the adsales and news room boys and girls eject an especially robust liquid lunch.

Quite which word now has the honour of being Germany's longest is uncertain, although Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenswitwe is in with a shout.

This handy term means "widow of a Danube Steamboat Company captain", and no doubt pops up regularly in everyday conversation. According to the Telegraph's Teutonic correspondent, a popular parlour game in Germany involves creating ever-longer words associated with the Danube Steamboat Company, such as the magnificent Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft, which translates as the “Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services”.

A more likely contender for the longest word in German is Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung ("automobile liability insurance"), which actually appears in the dictionary.

English speakers have long struggled to match German prowess in the length department. A quick net search reveals that pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism is commonly cited as our most impressive non-coined effort meriting a dictionary heads-up.

When I was a lad, it was antidisestablishmentarianism which took the popular vote, although I've always had a soft spot for the splendid supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS
Threaderick the Great! And YES, we asked the Arapaho
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN
Big cat causes big trouble at Mumbai college
Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?
Not lobbed at your head, silly – a bling phone
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.