List of the longest English words with one syllable

This is a list of the candidates for longest English word of one syllable. Unsurprisingly, most of these long words contain one or more digraphs (e.g., rr or ai) and the occasional trigraph (e.g., tch). That is, multiple letters are used to represent a single sound. Additionally, neither the -ed preterite past tense ending for verbs, nor the -s plural ending for nouns increases the syllable count for certain words, so it is unsurprising that the longest words would use these endings.

Eleven or ten letters

The eleven-letter word broughammed (created from brougham by analogy with bussed, biked, carted etc.), while readily pronounceable as one syllable in all dialects ("broomed", ), is yet to appear in a print dictionary. See: "ough" words. The word might also be spelled broughamed, with ten letters; this spelling was used by George Bernard Shaw.

Squirrelled is the spelling in British English of a word usually spelled in American English as squirreled (see -led and -lled spellings). While in Received Pronunciation the word has two syllables it is often pronounced /skwɝld/ (rhymes with world) in North American English. Of those who use the one-syllable pronunciation, some may use the eleven-letter spelling; for the rest, it is a ten-letter monosyllable.

Ten letters long

The American Heritage Dictionary lists "scrootch" as a variant spelling of "scrooch". The past form would be "scrootched", with ten letters.

The Oxford English Dictionary lists "scraunch" as an obsolete variant of "scrunch", or "crunch". However, the only citation given for "scraunched" is from a 1620 translation of "Miguel de Cervantes" "Don Quixote", in which the "-ed" inflection is pronounced as a separate syllable, as was common in Early Modern English.

Nine letters

There are a number of nine-letter words of a single syllable.

  • craunched
  • schlepped
  • scratched
  • scraughed
  • screeched
  • scrinched
  • scritched
  • scrooched
  • scrounged
  • scrunched
  • sprainged
  • spreathed
  • squelched
  • squirrels (see above)
  • straights
  • strengths
  • stretched
  • throughed
  • thrutched

The word strengths is unique among these in only containing a single vowel letter. It is also one of the most complex syllables in English, its consonants and vowels being distributed as CCCVCCCC (although it can be pronounced /strɛnθs/); the /k/ is not part of the underlying structure of the word, but an example of homorganic excrescence.

See also


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