Asked by brobdingnagian to Damien, Rachael, Simon, Suzi, Tim on 16 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Suzi Gage

      Suzi Gage answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Hah, there’s an obsession with this word.

      Are you guys trying to trip us up??
      I assume you get it from breathing in the air near volcanoes 🙂

    • Photo: Damien Hall

      Damien Hall answered on 16 Jun 2011:

      I reckon Suzi’s about right.

      Here’s what I wrote to @dalvindk about what I think(!) it means:

      I don’t know what that means, but the great thing about linguistics (well, one of them) is that I can get close to it by looking at the letters and syllables in the word!

      pneumono – : from Ancient Greek, I can tell that this has something to do with air, or breath, or the lungs probably

      ultramicroscopic: obvious? Something to do with very, very small things – particles?

      Volcano- : maybe means the particles are particles of volcanic ash?

      -osis: usually words that end in –osis are diseases.

      So I would guess that this is some lung disease that has to do with tiny particles of ash getting into your lungs. Is that right?