This question is asking about the largest word in German.

Currently the question is worded as a survey, which is Off Topic on the StackExchange sites.

Nonetheless, it is potentially a useful and interesting question, so I'd like to propose a re-wording of the question, also with the consensus of the OP, which I think will accept.

I proposed it as a comment, but I'll paste it here:

I think that if we re-word the question so that it asks "What is the largest word in German that is commonly used?" then it'll work. So this narrows it a lot and it can have 3, 4 answers, at most.

About the General reference thing. If it's on the internet, it's not necessarily GF. The definition of this close-vote says explicitly "standard resources". So if it's not in the dictionary, or say Wikipedia, then it's no longer GF.

If it was on some site but the explanation was very "chaotic" and not a two-line thing, it'd still not be GF. This is just what I've learned from other SE sites, and it's theory so I don't know how it applies here. If you can find a standard resource where my proposal is answered, I have no problem letting it go.

Now, it may not be the perfect solution, but that's exactly why I'm proposing this meta question. So:

  • if possible we find an alternative solution for the question;
  • if it's not possible, we can close it because even with a wider "meeting", it turned out to be impossible.
  • 1
    Ich denke, der Käse ist gegessen. Zumindest vorerst.
    – Em1
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 10:06
  • I just add the outcome of the original question by adding EM1's Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz which seems so far the longest word which was officially used. Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 10:08
  • 3
    @Em1 Closed question are not closed forever. They can be reopened if the question is improved, so my question is still "valid".
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 10:09

2 Answers 2


As I was the first to start all this by casting the first downvote here are my thoughts.

The question per se is not bad. In fact I find it quite interesting and funny indeed. However within the scope of a question & answer site we only have little room for questions other than asking something that we think it could have a good answer.

Giving a good answer is however not possible when we ask for a "longest" valid compound noun. We know that German grammar has no limits on this. The problems arising from list-type questions like this can already bee seen from the over-long list of comments we have, each of which could also be an answer (which we did not have).

Even after re-wording the question to ask for the largest "commonly used" word - it stays subjective and unsanswerable as it could lead to an endless discussion on the definition what is meant by "common use".

The only question I can think of on that topic would be something like asking for the upper limit for the length of a German word, or to ask for any official rules or accepted style guides that help to decide when a compound may be built or should better not be used. Within this scope we could also discuss if words like the "Rindfleisch...gesetz" make any sense, and why, or if we can phrase an over-long German compound better.

  • +1 It makes sense. I didn't consider some things you said, but you are right. The last proposal you made is also good. I think I'll accept yours. :)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 12:03
  • okay, good points. Closing again. :)
    – splattne
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 12:08

I agree with your reasoning. I searched our English sister site and found a similar question:

Longest English word without a vowel sound

So, I'll use my moderator super powers and will re-open the question.

If there are solid arguments against this decision, just let us know here.


See the accepted answer to this meta question.

  • I think @Takkat made a very good reasoning, you might take his words into account.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 12:03
  • Should I vote again to close? ;p
    – Em1
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 12:18
  • @Em1 Already done :P
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 12:33

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