I'm trying to understand what this word means: Голубамголовивідкушувальне (heard it on a Toronto Talk Show) and how many syllables it has. It's the longest word I have ever seen. I've looked around for other posts related to syllable counting and did not come across anything relevant. Thank you for your help!


2 Answers 2


What's this

It seems that this is a closed compound word, which appears to be a neologism with which hosts of this show came up on the fly.

This kind of words (Ukr. — голофрастичне утворення/конструкція) is created by lexicalization of syntactic terms.


Here some examples from the source hereabove (in bold):

  1. …гра називається: Мені-зимно-притулись-до-мене-поміцніше (Л. Дереш);
  2. Незнаюнезнаюнезнаю (Л. Денисенко);
  3. ГосподийдудотебетвояДарцяБорхес (Л. Дереш);

Unlikely in the real life, though it's still possible, people might just combine words into one, effectively creating new words, which existence and applicability more likely than not are limited to the context of the ongoing conversation (but this kind of word composition is likely to be encountered in the postmodern fiction books to some degree as outlined above).

This is the case in your scenario.

Break down and meaning

The original word conforms to the characteristics of an adjective.

Let's outline the words, which form Голубамголовивідкушувальне.

Голубам | голови | відкушувальне

There are three words:

  1. Голубам — the word meaning pigeon in the dative plural,
  2. голови — the word meaning head in the accusative plural,
  3. відкушувальне — the word meaning bite off — відкушувати, which undergone word inflection and appears as an adjective in nominative/accusative (for the word of neuter gender as this one, the nominative, and accusative cases match each other) singular.

If we were to change the word order to (subject is not specified):

  • відкушувальне голубам голови: verb відкушувальне(in the form of adjective participle)-indirect-object(голубам)-plus-direct-object(голови)-predicate
  • відкушувальне голови голубам: verb відкушувальне(in the form of adjective participle)-indirect-object(голови)-plus-direct-object(голубам)-predicate

The meaning becomes rather apparent — something that bites off pigeons' heads.


In Ukrainian, a vowel is a central unit of a syllable meaning a word has the same amount of syllables as there are vowels (source). There are 11 vowels therefore 11 syllables (vowels in bold, the word split into syllables)


  • 1
    Re: "голови — the word meaning head in the genitive singular," — why not Accusative/Plural? The Genitive (which takes its root from historic Partitive) seems rare or dialectal. On the other hand, Accusative is to denote a direct object, and it also plays well with plural "pigeons". Aug 5, 2021 at 2:27
  • 1
    Initially thought it was a singular form "голови", this makes sense
    – improbable
    Aug 11, 2021 at 11:35

This isn't a "real" word. There is an ongoing meme in this show where they come up with adjectives for video pieces by constructing such ridiculous words. First it started with them using normal words (especially "Страшне!") and then the meme developed. In your case, it means that the next video piece will be about "biting off heads from pigeons".

@improbable made a decent breakdown of it, I just want to add that "-льне" at the end is used to indicate that this should be understood as an adjective participle (not just an adjective).

  • Thanks for the correction, I revisited my answer.
    – improbable
    Oct 22, 2021 at 21:08

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