What is the longest Italian word? Try to guess!

In the Italian language we encounter terms of all kinds: from short ones, such as “io” or “se”, to longer, more complex and sometimes strange ones. But what, exactly, is the longest Italian word? Excluding scientific language, the longest word is “very precipitately“, with ben 26 characters. This word is the superlative of the adverb precipitatelyis used with a joking meaning and originates in poetry: it is capable of constituting a hendecasyllable on its own, and is presented in the literary lexicon and made famous by the poem The Celidora Of Andrea Casottiof the 1734in what has become the famous proverb

He who climbs too high often falls

very precipitately

and it means “with great speed” or “very quickly”.

For the first time ever the strange superlative was used almost a century earlier, in 1677by the friar Francesco Monetiin the work Cortona converted, within a metaphor that refers to human pride. The author uses it precisely because it alone constitutes an entire hendecasyllable:

“Such a strong force rises/Towards the sky, and stopping is in vain,/Until it suddenly returns to the earth/ Very precipitately”

However, in the field of scientific language, there are even longer terms, often related to chemistry or medicine. Various chemical compounds, depending on the type of nomenclature used, can have very long names, for example “nonylphenoxypolyethyleneoxyethanol” or “psychoneuroendocrineimmunology”.