Angstschweiß has a record-breaking 8 consonants in a row - no other German word has more

meaning: “fear-sweat” / a German word with 8 consonants in a row

The German language is notorious for the humongous amount of consonant you can string together. However, there seams to be a consensus that 8 is the maximum. At least, there is no word in the semi-official German dictionary “Duden” that exceeds this amount. Angstschweiß is not the only example, albeit arguably the most beautiful 😉 

Some other examples include Gesichtsschleier (“face veil”), Deutschschweizer (“Person from the German speaking part of Switzerland”), and Rechtsschrift (“legal notice”). 

However, the German language is cheating a bit on this one. In all known examples, the second part of the word begins with a sch + l, m, n, r or w, thus benefiting from the fact that German uses a “trigraph” – a group of 3 characters, namely sch – to represent the [ʃ]-phoneme. 

In this context, there exists a single non-composite german word that uses 8 consonants in a row: Borschtsch refers to an eastern European beet soup that is called “Borscht” in English. Fun fact: the schtsch-part of the word is represented by a single character in Russian (щ) that describes a single phoneme, the “voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative” (yes, I had to look that up as well). This makes “schtsch” probably the only “heptograph” (7 characters for one phoneme) in any language.


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