What is the longest word you can type with one hand?

I was looking for random, useless facts on the Internet the other day and found one that said:

“Skepticisms is the longest word that alternates hands when typing.”

This turned out wrong. A friend convinced me to write an application to work it out, and I decided to make it do more…

The application uses the UNIX words file to scan for words. Granted, not all the words actually are real, but it is a good indication.

To cut to the chase, the longest words with one hand on the QWERTY keyboard layout are 12 letters long:

aftereffects, desegregated, desegregates, reverberated, reverberates, stewardesses

These are all left handed words. In fact, there are 57 longer words that can be typed than the longest right handed word. The longest right handed word is “polyphony” with 9 letters. I found this a bit unusual so I decided to graph it (below). With alternating key strokes, the longest words are:

authenticity, enchantment, entitlement, proficiency, shantytowns

These are 12 letters for authenticity and 11 for the rest.

Here are the graphs for QWERTY with left vs right vs alternating sides:

I recall that the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard was designed with alternating hand key strokes in mind. With alternating sides, the highest word count is 14–slightly more than QWERTY’s 12. These words are:

overemphasized, overemphasizes, unpremeditated, verisimilitude

Interestingly enough, the Dvorak layout has very few words that have multiple key presses on the same side of the keyboard. The left side is the most popular with the longest words, at 6 letters, being:

kookie, opaque, papaya, upkeep, yippee, yuppie

The right side has a lowly score of 3 letters, one isn’t even a word:
brr, nth

Here is the Dvorak graph:

Well, come to your own conclusions from this data! I was just curious and slightly bored…

The graphs are made with Google Charts API using the pygooglechart module. If there’s enough interest I’ll throw the code up on github.

7 thoughts on “What is the longest word you can type with one hand?”

  1. Hello,

    Could you tell me how you added the legends using your pygooglechart wrapper? I have been using pygooglechart for a small project, as it seemed like a quick way to get some charts rolling.


  2. The longest RH-only word on a Dvorak keyboard would surely be crwth (a type of welsh lyre), which unsurprisingly not in the word list. It is commonly stated to be the longest word in English with no vowels, although technically the w is a vowel.

    1. When I mention I particular hand, I’m talking about touch typing with each hand assigned to a particular side of the keyboard. crwrth has letters on both left and right side of the keyboard!

  3. SUPER useless knowledge… loooool but thanks for the intense research and graphs… very impressed!!!
    (Even “Who wants to be the next billionaire” won’t use questions like this… lol)

  4. This is so cooool!!!! I was just typing garbage over and over instead of writing my english essay when I noticed I only used my left hand, so I got curious as to what the longest word you could type with one hand was. Seriously, this is so awesome, way better than my essay lol

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