The meaning of the word honorificabilitudinitatibus

This month at Wordsworks we’ve been desperately trying to slip the word “Honorificabilitudinitatibus” into our conversations and copywriting. No mean feat, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Best not to try wrapping your tongue around this monster after a tipple too many (or in my case, even if you’re stone cold sober).

Honorificabilitudinitatibus, which means the state of being able to achieve honours, or more simply ‘honourableness’, is interesting for two reasons.

Firstly, it’s the longest word in the English language to feature alternating consonants and vowels.

Secondly, it’s the longest word to feature in the works of Shakespeare, being uttered by Costard in Love’s Labour’s Lost – which is a bit of a mouthful for a character usually portrayed as a country bumpkin.