The longest German word is being officially dropped from the language. But we’ll let you know what it means and how to say it before it’s gone for good.
If you thought Antidisestablishmentarianism or Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious were unfathomably long, you haven’t met the behemoth that is Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. That’s 63 letters, in case you don’t want to count it.
In any case, the word has been completely dropped from the German language and not just because it’s so unbelievably long: Turns out, it’s actually pretty useless as well.
It’s kind of an obscure legal term, coined by the Mecklenburg Western-Pomeranian state government in 1999 in order to facilitate testing of beef for mad cow disease.
Abbreviated as RkReÜAÜG, the word is being dropped because the European Union’s recommendation for mad cow testing is being replaced. With the new law comes a new term which is also really long, but they’ve decided to split this one up. It is:
Landesverordnung über die Zuständigkeiten für die Überwachung der Rind-und Kalbfleischetikettierung.
State edict on the responsibilities for the monitoring of beef and veal labeling.
Anyway, the hunt for the longest German word is now on, with Mecklenburg saying that other federal states “will have to try to get a long word,” because they’re presumably fed up with theirs.
The longest “common” word in the German language is Donau- Dampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänswitwe (Danube steamship company captain’s widow), which German children learn in school. That monster is 48 letters long, still smoking the longest English words by a lot.
We promised help pronouncing the formerly-longest German word at the beginning of the article, so here it is. Let us know how you do in the comments below!