What Is the Longest One-Syllable Word? The Wonders of Language

people saying one-syllable words

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What is the longest one-syllable word in English? It turns out that there’s not a simple or definite answer to that question. The longest word can change depending on what rules of English you follow and which dictionaries you read. So, if you want to know what the longest one-syllable word is, your judgment will have to decide the answer.
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The Most Common Answer

When looking for what the majority of people agree is the longest monosyllabic word, you’ll find there are two common answers: “scraunched” and “strengthed.” These are both 10 letter words.

Scraunched

“Scraunched” is the past participle form of “scraunch,” which is a chiefly dialectical way to describe a crunch-like action or sound. The word appears in the historical Oxford English Dictionary, which cites a 1620 English translation of Don Quixote. Don Quixote is a Spanish novel written by Miguel de Cervantes, a renowned writer and novelist.

Strengthed

“Strengthed” is the past participle form of “strength” when it’s used as a verb. You’ll find the word in some dictionaries, but it has become a mostly archaic word in modern English. Today, most people use “strengthened” instead, which is the past participle of the verb “strengthen.”

Use in Word Games

While most people might accept these words as being real, they are unfortunately not valid choices in Scrabble or Words With Friends. They’re always updating the Scrabble and Words With Friends word lists though, so this could change in the future.

The Contested Answers

Though the previous two words are more obscure and outdated, no one can really claim that they aren’t real words. These next one-syllable words, however, are a different story. 

Both terms are contenders for the title of the longest one-syllable word in English, but many people contest their validity. People debate whether one of these words should be in the dictionary at all. And the other word has different spelling and syllable patterns depending on the region.

Schtroumpfed

At 12 letters long, “schtroumpfed” is an interesting case. Its position as the longest one-syllable word depends on what people believe are the rules for counting as a “real” English word. The word originates from France; its root word is “schtroumpf.” 

“Schtroumpf” is the French name for the Smurfs, characters from the 1980s cartoon of the same name. The word first appeared as an English term when researcher Alistair McEwen translated an essay by Umberto Eco, an Italian literary critic.

If appearing in a publication and having a definition is what constitutes an English word, then the argument can be made that “schtroumpfed”is the longest one-syllable word. If it takes more for it to count, however, such as widespread use in a region, then we must still treat “schtroumpfed” as a foreign term.

Squirrelled

“Squirrelled,” as an 11-letter word, is another contender for the longest one-syllable word in English. However, a number of region-specific factors prevent everyone from reaching a consensus on the matter. These factors come from the differences between British and American English

In countries that use British English, “squirrelled” is a two-syllable word. By contrast, it’s a one-syllable word in American English. It’s a difference in pronunciation. 

Secondly, there is also the issue of how it is spelled. The word can either be “squirreled” (with one L) or “squirrelled” (with two L’s). Both are acceptable, but “squirreled” is more common in American English. Without the second L, it is a 10-letter word, putting it on par with “scraunched” and “strengthed” above.

Use in Word Games

As anyone might expect, “schtroumpfed” is not a valid word in Scrabble or Words With Friends. Its obscure nature and debatable place in the lexicon keep it from being a candidate for inclusion in either popular word game dictionary. 

Fortunately, though, “squirrelled” is a perfectly acceptable word to use in either game. It’s worth 21 points in Scrabble and 24 points in Words With Friends. How you might find a place on the board to play the 11-letter word is another matter altogether. 

More Long One-Syllable Words

While the longest one-syllable words tend to be 10 or more letters long, there are also plenty of other slightly shorter words that are worth studying as well. Plus, if you’re looking for the longest monosyllabic word that isn’t archaic or contested, these 9-letter words are your best options.

Longest One-Syllable Words in CodyCross

When it comes to word games that can benefit from long monosyllabic words, crossword puzzles stand at the top of the list. CodyCross is a prime example of such a game. CodyCross answers are all the same length, so it’s imperative to know and memorize longer words if you want to solve its puzzles. 

Every answer in CodyCross is nine letters long. This means that all of the nine-letter words listed above are potential answers. When it comes to the longest one-syllable words in CodyCross, “scratched” and “screeched” are the most common answers. So, they’ll be the most important CodyCross answers to keep in mind when playing the popular word game.

Keep Your Language Study Going

If these one-syllable words prove anything, it’s that there’s always something new to learn about English. It is a complex language with a rich vocabulary and fascinating history. This, naturally, means there are a lot of words in the language. But, exactly how many words are there? The answer is more complex than you might think. To better understand the question, read our article exploring how many words are in English and why this number is hotly debated.


Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.

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