The following pages are dedicated to English words that can be spelled using
chemical symbols. These lists are good through 5/30/12, and include all elements
through element 112 (Copernicium, Cn), plus 114 (Flerovium, Fl) and 116 (Livermorium, Lv).
I know these pages are rather bare-bones, but I wanted folks just to be able to
see the words and get on with things.
Who might be interested in this page? Anyone who loves chemistry, certainly.
High school teachers could use these words to increase the interest in the
subject. How about English lovers who want ONe SUPEr ScHoLaSTiC PrOCeSS ThAt
He/SHe CaN USe In ClAsS? Or what about chemistry teachers trying to help
student learn their chemical symbols (Question: Picasso pioneered what
short-lived but influential form of art? Answer: Copper + Bismuth +
Samarium = CuBiSm).
Exhaustive Word Lists:
1. A list of all English words (27,192 of them, plus two not in ENABLE) that
can be spelled with chemical symbols. [list]
1a. A list of all of the spellings of those words (57,386 ways, plus nine not in
2. A list of all English words (20,126 of them, plus one not in ENABLE) that
can be spelled with distinct chemical symbols (so "papa" is not allowed since it
would take a repeat of Pa to spell it). [list]
2a. A list of all of the spellings of those words (31,194 ways, plus one not in
3. A list of all spellings of English words (1510 of them) that can be
spelled solely using one-character chemical symbols. [list]
4. A list of all spellings of English words (608 of them) that can be
spelled solely using distinct one-character chemical symbols (so "bib" is not
allowed since it would take a repeat of B to spell it). [list]
5. A list of all spellings of English words (1573 of them) that can be
spelled solely using two-character chemical symbols. [list]
6. A list of all spellings of English words (1487 of them) that can be
spelled solely using distinct two-character chemical symbols (so "papa" is not
allowed since it would take a repeat of Pa to spell it). [list]
7. A list of first names (741 of them) that can be
spelled with Chemical symbols. These names are taken from the 1000 most
popular baby names (for each gender) in America from each decade since 1880 (a
total of 4765 distinct names were thus considered), according to the Social
Security Administration. [list]
7a. A list of the spellings of those names (954 of them). [list]
8. A list of countries (34 of them) that can
be spelled with Chemical symbols. This list only includes current
countries that have been accepted by the United Nations, so for instance KOsOVO
is not (yet?) included. Where possible, phrases like "Republic of" have
not been considered. [list]
8a. A list of the spellings of those countries (60 of them). [list]
The addition in May 2012 of Fl and Lv added 381 new words, with 955 total new spellings.
While no new countries were added to the list, there were 7 new names (with a total of 10 new spellings). Also,
the atomic element Silver was added, bringing the total number of elements that can be spelled to 13 (see below).
The longest word you can spell with chemical symbols is
"nonrepresentationalisms," which can be spelled four different ways with
symbols, one of which is "NoNRePReSeNTaTiONaLiSmS." There is a tie for
longest words if only unique chemical symbols may be used:
"hypercoagulabilities" and "hyperconsciousnesses" ("HYPErCoAgULaBiLiTiEs" and
"HYPErCoNScIOUSnEsSeS"). The first word alphabetically is "acacias"
("AcAcIAs"), a type of shrub, and the last word alphabetically is "ywis"
("YWIS"), a Middle-English way of saying "certainly."
There are two words tied for having the largest number of different
spellings with symbols: each of "innocuousnesses" and
"inconspicuousnesses" can be spelled in 48 different ways. Similarly,
there are two words tied for having the largest number of different spellings
using distinct symbols: each of "pocosin" and "inosculate" can be spelled
13 different ways with distinct symbols. Interestingly, those 13 spellings
of "inosculate" are the only 13 possible spellings to begin with for that word.
The only elements that can be spelled using chemical symbols are:
PHOsPHoRuS, PHoSPHoRuS, PHOSPHoRus,
PHOsPHORuS, PHoSPHORuS, PHOSPHORuS
SiLiCoN, SILiCoN, SiLiCON, SILiCON
Note that the only elements that require the use of repeated chemical symbols
are copper and phosphorus. And that arsenic, copper, iron, silver, and tin cannot be
spelled with their own chemical symbols.
I should note that I am using the ENABLE dictionary
as my source for English words. ENABLE is essentially based on the concept that
if you can use it in Scrabble, you can find it in their dictionary. Plus, you
can find words longer than 8-9 letters long. Essentially, ENABLE is based on
Merriam Webster's 10th edition and it is the gold-standard of word puzzle makers
and solvers everywhere.
Some simple examples of what is (and is not) in ENABLE: words that must be
capitalized, like "Ireland," are not allowed, and neither are acronyms, like
"N.R.A.," unless they have come into the vernacular as words, such as "laser."
Archaic words, like "thir" (a Middle-English pronoun) are allowed, as are
abbreviations that have become full-fledged words in their own right, such as
"repo." Those two words, spelled with chemical symbols, are ThIr and either RePO
or RePo, by the way. Now, there ARE words that are not on the ENABLE word
list, though I don't know why: for instance, "inasmuch" (INaSmUCH) is
absent. To keep the list organized and regulated, though, I decided to
keep all of the words in ENABLE in the normal lists, alphabetized; those words
not in ENABLE come after the main lists. If you find any words that are
not in the lists (so far I have but two), please let me know! Also,
clearly, as new element names and symbols become official, and as new words are
added to the English language, these lists will change.
If you use this page in your classroom, &c., please reference me! Also, if you
like these pages or have anything you think should be added, drop me a line: email@example.com