One of the things I remember learning as a kid was supposedly the longest word in the English language. At the time, it was "antidisestablishmentarianism...

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One of the things I remember learning as a kid was supposedly the longest word in the English language. At the time, it was “antidisestablishmentarianism.” And after mastering it, I also remember walking around for days saying it over and over again to impress everyone.


I later learned that pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis had that beat hands down. It has 45 letters, defines a lung disease caused by breathing in certain fine dust particles and is the longest word in any English-language dictionary.


It’s funny the things we remember growing up. Of course, there are all kinds of extremely long words out there, but fortunately I’ve rarely had to use any of them. I recently learned that there’s even a word that describes the fear of long words, sesquipedalaphobia, which I find to be somewhat ironic.


I mention all of this because there’s an online corollary to these long words. It’s the Uniform Resource Locator or URL, which is the address that identifies the location of a Web page on the World Wide Web. When speaking a URL aloud or typing it into the browser address field, you can drop the http:, colon and slash slash. In some cases, you can even drop the www, all of which helps to shorten the thing.


But some URLs are really way too long. I looked it up and found one Web site whose claim to fame is that it boasts having the world’s longest single word domain name. If you must know, it’s: www.llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch.com.


Reading further, the Web site says that residents of the Welsh village with that name — which means St. Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave — now hope that visitors from all over the world will be able to learn more about their community.


I’m sorry to tell you good townspeople this, but if visitors have to remember that long URL to find you online, your Web site’s hits score is going to be very low.


But I do have an excellent suggestion for not only the town with the long name, but for anyone who wants to make any long URL a smaller one. There’s a Web site that’s designed to shorten Web-site addresses and it’s aptly named SnipURL.


Go to snipurl.com and it asks you to enter in a long URL to be shortened. If it has not been “snipped” by someone else, it will immediately generate a very short address for you or show you the one already snipped by someone else. All are preceded by snipurl.com/ followed by a newly formed abbreviated URL.


Another useful feature of SnipURL is the ability to add nicknames. The “MySnipURL” section keeps track of all the abbreviated Web site URLs you created and even displays how many hits (total number of times the URL was used) and unique clicks (total number of different people who clicked on it) used your SnipURL.


The SnipURL Web site is a free service and has proved to be invaluable whenever I want to send someone an address that is way too long to type. For example, I use SnipURL in my weekly e-mail newsletter.


Granted, readers can copy and paste in the URL but if for some reason that doesn’t work and they have to manually type it in, offering an abbreviated URL can prove to be a godsend. If you share long Web-site addresses, you’re going to find that brevity is the mother of extension.