Can You Spell These Words That Are 17 Letters or Longer?


By: Geoff Hoppe

6 Min Quiz

Image: PeopleImages/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

This isn't your first rodeo or your first spelling bee. In fact, it might be your 10th or 11th. You're an ace speller, a champion of the language, the one first grader who eagerly anticipated those Friday spelling tests. And if one of those didn't come back a 100, chances are, it was more likely the teacher's fault than yours. That's why you're here: the challenge of spelling, not just regular of tough words, but monumentally tough words.

Are you game enough to dive into this challenge to spell 17-letter words? If so, you're at pro levels of spelling. These are words so long they're more like multi-step equations than they are just words. You'll have to know prefixes, suffixes, Greek and Latin roots, connotations, and the various specialty words and dialects that aren't often heard outside of their small niches. But for an ace speller like you, that's no trouble. 

Can you tackle this difficult test of linguistic dexterity? Do you have what it takes to grab hold of these tricky, roundabout terms, and nail every letter like a stunt pilot flying through hoops? You may think you're the coolest kid in English class (or on the crossword circuit), but not until you can dive all over this quiz will you be sure of your mastery.

What's the correct spelling of a word that means "crossing fields of study?"

Anything interdisciplinary combines two fields of study. Medical anthropology and literary history are both examples of interdisciplinary fields.


Which word meaning someone or something isn't being portrayed correctly or fairly, is correctly spelled?

The proper spelling is misrepresentation. If you portray a villain as a hero, that would be misrepresentation.


How do you spell the word for a field of study frequently consulted during the first Iraq War?

Counterinsurgency is fighting back against terrorists or revolutionaries. The strategy was used frequently during the Iraq War in the early 2000s.


Which is the correct spelling of the process of moving from an agrarian economy to one with a division of labor?

Industrialization is how a society goes from farms to factories. The early, dirty stages tend to give way to safer, cleaner ones.


How do you spell a word that means "fear of the number 13?"

Triskaidekaphobia means you take the common superstition regarding the number 13 to extreme extents. If you have triskaidekaphobia, it's likely you've never seen any of the "Friday the 13th" films.


What's the proper spelling for the ancient primate?

Australopithecines were primates who walked on two feet. They lived between 1 million to 4 million years ago.


How do you spell a word that means "bringing something to market?"

Commercialization is everything that goes into introducing a new product or service. The early 20th century saw the rapid commercialization of the automobile thanks to the assembly line.


How do you spell the quality of being very kind and empathetic?

Tenderheartedness is being extremely easily moved emotionally, especially towards love or empathy. Tenderheart was also the name of the leader of the Care Bears in their 1980s iteration.


What's the proper spelling of the process of making color photos?

Chromophotography is a fancy word for making color prints. The process became popular and accessible during the 20th century.


How do you spell the word that describes what happens to a werewolf when it transforms back into a human?

Anthropomorphosis is the process of turning an animal, or anything, into a human. If you imagine an inanimate object as a person, or as something with human characteristics, that'd also qualify as anthropomorphosis.


How would you spell the word for someone who believes in the philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson?

A transcendentalist is someone who follows the philosophy made famous by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Transcendentalists believe in a godlike "Oversoul" that is part of all that exists. It's kind of like the Force, only boring, and there are no lightsabers.


How do you spell the word for a rock that glows when it's heated?

A thermoluminescent object glows when heated. Some also glow when exposed to radiation.


How would you spell the word for a novel or movie that's been made into a stage play?

A theatricalization is an adaptation of something for the stage. In the past 20 years, Broadway has seen a rash of film theatricalizations, from "Legally Blonde" to "Spider-Man."


How do you spell a word that describes something that exists for at least 70 years?

Anything transgenerational exists across multiple generations. Many times, a family's religion is a transgenerational phenomenon passed down from father to son.


How would you spell any alteration in a cell's membrane, which causes that cell to become increasingly negative?

Hyperpolarization is the opposite of depolarization. It occurs when potassium ions overrun a cell.


How would you spell a modern religious descendant of the Puritans?

A congregationalist is a Protestant Christian. Congregationalist churches are comparatively more independent than Catholic churches.


How would you spell the word that describes whether a law is in line with America's most important political document?

The constitutionality of something is the extent to which it either contradicts or is in line with, the U.S. Constitution. The ultimate test of a law's constitutionality is up to the Supreme Court. In most cases, however, cases don't make it that far.


How do you spell the word that describes something that lacks unique features?

Anything indistinguishable is not easily seen, noticed or differentiated between. The verb "distinguish" is buried in the word.


Which of these is the proper spelling for anything that simultaneously deals with heart and lungs?

Your cardiorespiratory system's primary parts are the heart and the lungs. Among other tasks, they provide oxygen to the blood, then pump that blood through the body. They also serve the purpose of pushing waste and unhealthy things out of your body.


How would you spell the quality of being thoughtful or pensive?

Someone with a high degree of contemplativeness likes to think over things. Contemplativeness is a benefit in some fields, and a detriment in others.


If you're speaking with someone, how would you spell what that person is?

If someone's speaking with you, they're a conversationalist. The words "converse" and "conversationalist" are related root words.


What is the proper spelling for the word that means understandable?

Comprehensibility is the quality of being able to be understood. Hopefully the comprehensibility of this question was up to par.


One meaning of this word is a rival entertainment or entertainment activity. What word is it?

A counterattraction is a rarely-used word for a contrasting entertainment site or activity. Universal Studios and Busch Gardens would be examples of counterattractions to Disney World.


What's the word for the Christian belief in the idea of real presence?

Consubstantiation is the belief that there is some "real presence" of Christ in the Eucharist, but that the wafer you eat is not the actual body of Christ, which would be the Catholic belief. Consubstantiation is a belief held by Lutherans.


You're writing a message to a friend in code. How are you writing it?

You're writing cryptographically if you're writing something in code. Cryptography is the study of putting things into code. Contrary to popular portrayal, a system where one value (say, 1) equals one other value (like a letter, a), is not a code. That's a cipher.


Don't equivocate when giving tough news. Instead, speak in this fashion.

Straightforwardly (but kindly) is the best way to speak to someone if you're breaking bad news. At least, that's the case for most folks, unless you work for Darth Vader. Then you get someone else to break the bad news.


What's the name for the field of study where people look at the mental basis of language?

Psycholinguistics studies how the brain uses, and develops, language. Some psycholinguists argue that language is as natural to humans as flight is to birds.


What would you call something profoundly unimpressive?

A nonaccomplishment is just what it sounds like: something that's so impressive, you can't even qualify it as something worth the name "accomplishment." Though what constitutes an accomplishment may differ among people, those different people can probably agree on the category of nonaccomplishment itself.


How do you spell the compound of hemoglobin and carbon monoxide?

Carboxyhemoglobin is the proper spelling. Carboxyhemoglobin is created when carbon monoxide and blood mix, and the resultant compound is stable. That said, too high a level of carboxyhemoglobin, and you won't be able to breathe.


What's the proper spelling of someone who believes that your fate is set, no matter what you do?

A predestinationist believes that God, or fate or some greater force, has set your destiny before your birth. Strict Calvinists are predestinationists. The argument between how much of one's fate is predestined, and how much is determined by free will, is a long-running one in Christian theology.


If you're doing something that's outside your career's normal job description, what sort of thing are you doing?

Anything extraprofessional is outside the common bounds of a job's role. Asking a window washer to tap dance would be one example of an extraprofessional task. Similarly, asking a fisherman to pen a dissertation on William Blake's prophetic poetry would be extraprofessional.


Which of the following is the correct word for any atom that draws in electrons?

Electronegativity is the extent to which something attracts electrons. Halogen elements have a high degree of electronegativity. Electronegativity is rated on a scale of 0 to 4.0.


What's the word for changing something that was illegal, to something legal?

Decriminalization is changing anything from an illegal activity to a legal activity. In some cases in the U.S., decriminalization takes place at different times in different states. The decriminalization of pot took place in Colorado before it did in other states, for instance.


What's the undesirable condition that often happens when someone dumps you?

Few people want to indulge in brokenheartedness. If you get dumped enough, however, it can become a perennial condition.


How would you spell the presence of many diverse elements in a group?

Heterogeneousness means there are many different sorts of things making up one entity. Amerca's heterogeneousness is a quality many frequently notice. There are a dizzying variety of religions, ethnicities and people in America.


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