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Coined by Everett K Smith, President of the National Puzzlers’ League, at their convention in 1935, from Ancient Greek πνεύμων ‎(pneúmōn, lung) + Latin ultra ‎(beyond) + English microscopic + silico- + volcano + Ancient Greek κόνις ‎(kónis, dust) + English -osis, as an extension of the medical term pneumonoconiosis.


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pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis ‎(plural pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses)

  1. (nonce word) A factitious disease of the lungs, allegedly caused by inhaling microscopic silicate particles originating from eruption of a volcano.
    • 1980 March, Kerr, Lorin E., “Black Lung”, in Journal of Public Health Policy, volume 1, number 1, JSTOR 3342357, page 50:
      Call it miner's asthma, silicosis, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, coal workers' pneumoconiosis, or black lung—they are all dust diseases with the same symptoms.
    • 1998 August 27, Smokey, “Lament for a Lung Disease”, in talk.bizarre, Usenet[1], message-ID <6s3r8o$brt$>:
      I say that it must be the silica dust
      That we breathed through our mouths and our noses
      That brought pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
    • 2002 December 18, Pod, “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis”, in, Usenet[2], message-ID <iHSL9.2091$h43.295898@stones>:
      It's either pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, or a bad cough.
    • 2011 April 28, Stradtman, Kurt D., Am I the Person My Mother Warned Me About?: A Four-year College Experience ... Only the Good Parts, Xlibris, ISBN 9781462862887, LCCN 2011906469, page 90:
      I still can't watch House M.D. and not have my mind wonder [] Even I can fear of[sic] having Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis after watching it.


For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

Coordinate terms



Usage notes


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Oxford English Dictionary [Second Edition]