Home Arts & Culture German language loses longest word following EU law change

German language loses longest word following EU law change

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The German language has lost its longest word following a change in the law to conform with EU regulations.

Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz – meaning “law delegating beef label monitoring” – was introduced in 1999 in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The word was repealed following changes to EU regulations on the testing of cattle.

German is famous for making compound words, often to describe something legal or scientific.


The German language has lost its longest word following a change in the law to conform with EU regulations

The German language has lost its longest word following a change in the law to conform with EU regulations

They are known in Germany as “tapeworm” words.

The 63-letter word came into being as a result of efforts to combat BSE, or “mad cow disease” and was given the abbreviation RkReUAUG – itself something of a tongue-twister.

But with the EU calling a halt to the testing of healthy cattle at abattoirs, the need for the word vanished.

The search is now on for the language’s new longest word, German media reported.

Among the contenders is said to be Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenswitwe, meaning the “widow of a Danube steamboat company captain”.

However, experts say such long words are so rarely used they are unlikely to make it into the standard German-language dictionary.

The longest word to be found in the dictionary is Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung, meaning “automobile liability insurance”.

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