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
Here is the Dvorak graph:
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.