That limit often depends on the language: I use php, and the recommended limits are 80 and 120 (yes, there are two). In python, it's more like 72, and apparently, in Java, that would be 80. Not sure what your favorite language is, but maybe it culturally has a higher limit? Anyway, I find 120 very comfortable, but when I cross that limit, I try to make the offending block under 80.
My language of choice is Java. The 80 character limit that you mention is most likely either part of an old Java style guide (the most recent Oracle Java guidelines are from 1999), or a result of inertia (Google apparently moved to 100 characters as a compromise to those still preferring 80).
Java has a well-deserved reputation for verbosity (which I don't see as a negative), which means that while most of the lines of code I come across tend to be 100-120 character wide, a fair share are 120-150.
Might be ok indeed for Java, I did not practice a lot but I still remember "System.out.println" vs "echo", so it could indeed make sense in that language.
That's a very mild example. For some laughs and groans, try googling "java long class names" :-).
lol even german does not produce such long words
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