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Word Records

Here is a selection of record-breaking words: typewriter words, subalphabetic words, symmetrical words, most looked-up words, and most misspelled words. See also these sections: longest word, vowel records, consecutive letter records, Scrabble game records, and Angry, Hungry, and GRY words.

Typewriter Words

TYPEWRITER (10 letters) can be typed using only the top row of keys on a standard keyboard. Other ten-letter words with this property are PEPPERROOT, PEPPERWORT, PERPETUITY, PEWTERWORT, PIROUETTER, PREREQUIRE, PRETORTURE, PROPRIETOR, REPERTOIRE, REPETITORY, TETTERWORT. If hyphens are allowed, then TEETER-TOTTER (12 letters) is possible, as is TEETER-TOTTERER (14 letters), although the latter is not found in dictionaries. Another possible 12-letter word, POWERTRIPPER, is also not in any major dictionary.

SHAKALSHAS (10 letters) is the longest word which can be typed using only the middle row of letters on the keyboard. Others include HAGGADAHS, FLAGFALLS, HADASSAHS, GALAGALA, GALAHADS, HASKALAH, and ALFALFAS.

The only dictionary word which can be typed using only the bottom row of letters is ZZZ (to indicate sleeping). (There are no vowels in the bottom row.)

AFTERCATARACTS, TESSERADECADES and TETRASTEARATES (each 14 letters) are the longest words which can be typed using only the fingers of the left hand, using the standard method of typing.

Using only the fingers of the right hand, one can type the 12-letter word JOHNNY-JUMP-UP (common name for a flower) including the hyphens, and also PHYLLOPHYLLIN (13 letters).

Subalphabetic Words

FICKLEHEADED and FIDDLEDEEDEE are the longest English words consisting only of letters in the first half of the alphabet, each being 12 letters long. The 13-letter CABBAGEHEADED and ILLEFFACEABLE are not in dictionaries. Unfortunately, neither is HIGGLEHAGGLED nor GIBBLEGABBLED, also 13 letters each.

It is harder to make long words from the second half of the alphabet, as there are only two vowels, and these vowels are less common than those found in the first half of the alphabet. The longest is NONSUPPORTS (11 letters), although if place names are allowed then the 13-letter words TUTTOQQORTOOQ (in Greenland) and ROSSOUWSPOORT (in South Africa) are valid.

ACCEDED, CABBAGE, BAGGAGE, DEFACED, EFFACED, and FEEDBAG are seven-letter words which can be played on a musical instrument, that is to say they contain only letters in the range A-G. CABBAGED, at eight letters, is the longest such word.

Symmetrical Words

Closely related to palindromes, symmetrical words are words that have an axis of symmetry, or point of rotational symmetry. Needless to say, it is relevant whether the word is written in upper or lower case.

Some long words with horizontal symmetry are: BEDECKED, BOOHOOED, CHECKBOOK, CODEBOOK, COOKBOOK, DECIDED, DIOXIDE, DOBCHICK, EXCEEDED, HOODOOED, and KEBOBBED. The longest such word, with ten letters, is OKEECHOBEE.

The longest words with vertical symmetry are OTTO, MAAM, and TOOT. Others include MOM, WOW, AHA, AHA, AIA, AMA, AVA, AWA, HAH, HOH, HUH, MAM, MIM, MUM, OHO, OXO, TAT, TIT, TOT, TUT, UTU, VAV, and WAW!

When written in upper case, the word BID has horizontal symmetry, but when written in lower case it has vertical symmetry – bid!

SWIMS is probably the longest word with 180-degree rotational symmetry. All of the letters in the words SOONISH (7 letters) and ONIONS (6 letters) independently have 180-degree rotational symmetry.

Most looked-up and most misspelled Words

PARADIGM was the word most frequently looked up in 1998 in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Some other words frequently looked up, besides obscene words, were UBIQUITOUS, ESOTERIC, OXYMORON, SERENDIPITY, HUBRIS, OBSEQUIOUS, and ECLECTIC. In 2001, the ten most frequently looked up words in the Cambridge Dictionaries Online were SERENDIPITY, IDIOM, PARADIGM, UBIQUITOUS, DICTIONARY, PRAGMATIC, EFFECT, GRY, JINGOISM, and FOIBLE. The most frequently looked up article in the World Book Encyclopedia is said to be SNAKE.

The words most likely to be misspelled (ratio of incorrect to correct spelling) according to a study of Usenet traffic some years ago were DUMBELL, OCCURRENCE, MEMENTO, FRUSTUM, COLLECTIBLE, AMATEUR, DAIQUIRI, PASTIME, ACCIDENTALLY, PLAYWRIGHT, EMBARRASS, ACQUIT, HARASS, and PRONUNCIATION. The same study showed the words most frequently misspelled (by gross count) to be: RECEIVE, A LOT, AMATEUR, SEPARATE, REALIZE, THEIR, DEFINITE, INDEPENDENT, WEIRD, EMBARRASS, ARGUMENT, NO ONE, ACQUIRE, ACCIDENTALLY, OCCURRENCE, COLLECTIBLE, RIDICULOUS, MANEUVER, LIAISON, GAUGE, ATHEIST, GRAMMAR, SUPERSEDE, KERNEL, and CONSENSUS.

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