Nandor's Exhaustive Chemical Words Pages
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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 ENABLE).  [list]

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 ENABLE).  [list]

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]


Interesting Facts: 

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:

 arsenic  ArSeNiC, ArSeNIC
 astatine  AsTaTiNe
 bismuth  BiSmUTh, BISmUTh
 carbon  CaRbON, CArBON
 copper  CoPPEr, COPPEr
 iron  IrON
 krypton  KrYPtON
 neon  NeON
 phosphorus    PHOsPHoRuS, PHoSPHoRuS, PHOSPHoRus,

 PHOsPHORuS, PHoSPHORuS, PHOSPHORuS  

 silicon  SiLiCoN, SILiCoN, SiLiCON, SILiCON
 silver  SILvEr, SiLvEr
 tin  TiN
 xenon  XeNoN, XeNON

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:  nandor@wellington.org


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Dr. Nandor is a mathematics teacher and Upper School Dean of Studies at The Wellington School.  Here is his home page.