The longest word you can type on the first row


I grew up thinking typewriter was the longest English word one could type on the first row of letters on a QWERTY keyboard. I remember being told this was by design for typewriter demonstrations, then someone telling me it was an urban legend, then someone else saying it was true.

Here comes the proverbial posterior prognostication: but… what if the premise of this discussion wasn’t true at all? What if you could type an even longer word on this first row?

Here’s an example:


Did a Welsh person get a hold of my keyboard? I kid, but what’s the longest real English word? I went looking.

Andrew Stephens cited three back in 2009

Using Python I replicated Lloyd’s results for the top row of the QWERTY keyboard: PERPETUITY, PROPRIETOR, REPERTOIRE, and TYPEWRITER

These are all ten characters long. This means the word typewriter remains the longest word, albeit among others. Or… is it?

Jason Sitt performed another Python search in 2021

This search finds three words longer than typewriter: rupturewort, proprietory, and proterotype.

According to Jason, rupturewort is a “decorative ground cover that was also used as a medicinal herb in the 1500s”. There you go!

I imagine German has some epic words that can be written in just the first row. Let me know if your language does too.

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

The site is powered by Hugo, FreeBSD, and OpenZFS on OrionVM, everyone’s favourite bespoke cloud infrastructure provider.

If you found this post helpful or entertaining, you can shout me a coffee or send a comment. Thanks ☺️.