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 Church and state are like light in a prism: / Far more beautiful after the schism. / Some take issue with this, / And support antidis- / establishmentarianism.

Burma Shave


"Antidisestablishmentarianism," as a word, technically refers to a specific political movement which would have opposed removing the Church of England from its status as the "official" church of Ireland. (That Other Wiki has some information, if you're curious.) This is not about that movement, however. This is about the word.

You see, this infamously long-winded word is more famous for being long, unwieldy, and taking a heck of a long time to type. If anybody needs a go-to big word, this is the one they usually pull out. (Especially if it's at a Spelling Bee.) It's not even the longest word in the English language, though it is the longest one that is neither a scientific term nor specifically coined to make a huge word. Why this word? While it's long, it's really just "establish" with a bunch of fairly standard prefixes and suffixes tacked on. It's not even hard to spell, since it's spelled exactly as it's pronounced (without any of English's 1001 special spelling exceptions or oddities[1]). Possibly because it's Inherently Funny. A favorite form of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.

Examples of Antidisestablishmentarianism include:


Advertising

  • One DQ commercial has a father agree to share some ice cream with his toddler if he can say "one little word: Antidisestablishmentariansim." The kid manages to squeak it out flawlessly.

Live Action TV

  • Blackadder: "I'll be back before you can say Antidisestablishmentarianism." Since the "you" in question is Prince George, he's right. Although he needs two days.

  Anti-distinctly-minty...

    • Notable for Blackadder leaving to perform an act of antidisestablishmentarianism.
  • In an episode of Big Time Rush, during a montage of the boys answering many arbitrary questions, Logan replies solely with the word.
  • The Honeymooners episode "The $99,000 Answer

 Alice: Spell "antidisestablishmentarianism".

Ralph: I'll spell it. [pause] I'll spell it!

Alice: Well? Go ahead.

Ralph: [agitated] I'll spell it when you give me $16,000 for spelling it!

Alice: [disbelieving] Sixteen thousand dollars for spelling it?! I'll give you $32,000 if you can SAY it!

Music

New S

Literature

Video Games

  • In Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free, upon inspecting Strong Bad's large collection of "Edgarware" titles, which includes "anti-virus", "anti-spyware", and "anti-disestablishmentarianism".

Web Comics

  • Suzy Gee from Nukees starts an organization called "Citizens Opposed to Antidisestablishmentarianism." The name can, with some generosity, be said to fit - she's trying to stop a bill that would explicitly tie marriage to religious faith.

Web Original

  • One series on Alternate History Dot Com (largely a parody of the Pirates of the Caribbean films) featured pirates commanding a ship called the Pseudoantidisestablishmentarian. The logic being that by the time the enemy lookout has finished yelling the ship's name to his captain, they're already halfway through the boarding action.

Western Animation

  • On Arthur, they had a spelling bee, and the resident Smart Guy tried to spell this word during a practice session.
  • Showed up in A Pup Named Scooby Doo during their quiz show segment. In the beginning of the episode, the designated Hollywood Nerds (the Brainy Bunch) guessed this word from one letter and the blanks (possibly not so hard a task given the lack of words of that number of letters in English). Actuially, they didn't even try to get a letter before guessing. They just learned it was the longest word and said it. Shaggy and Scooby then tried to find the word in a dictionary. They get tripped up in the end when the word has two consecutive Zs, and they don't know any (Which there are actually plenty of). The Bunch is stumped, while Shaggy and Scooby recognize the five-letter word immediately: "pizza".
  • This also showed up in an Imagine Spot during an episode of Doug. Doug misspells "bologna" in a spelling bee and gets laughed at, while Chalky flawlessly rattles off "antidisestablishmentarianism" and is applauded.
  • In Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks, one of Piggley's grandsons tricked the other out of dessert with the riddle "Antidisestablishmentarianism is a long word. Think I can spell it?" He spelled it "I-T".
  • Phineas and Ferb: Apparently, they found a cure.
    • "I can finally take off this puce ribbon."
    • In-Universe Fridge Logic: "Wait, I thought it was more an ideological stance than a disease?"
  • One of the bumpers of Recess involved Gretchen saying "We'll be back before you can say antidisestablishmentarianism".
  • In an early episode of Danny Phantom, "One of A Kind," look closely: the test Danny receives back has "antidisestablishment" as the entire first line.
  • An episode of Whatever Happened to Robot Jones had one of Robot's friends try to write this on a guitar. He then asks "How do you spell that?"
  • Averted in Rocket Power where Twister has to spell "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis."
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force had the character of the Robot Turkey Ghost of Christmas Past From the Future cite "antidisestablishmentarianism" as one of the outcomes of the great chicken uprising lead by Carl.

Other

  • Netflix runs a series of radio ads based on a fictional quiz show with borderline Calvin Ball-esque Non Sequitur answers. One of the questions is "What word comes next in this sequence? Crustacean, kumquat?" and the answer, of course, is "Antidisestablishmentarianism."
    • And a new one: "Tree, sky...." "Transubstantianalism."
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a similar sort of word.
    • At one time, Disney had sing-a-long videoes put out with intros to each song by Professor Ludwig Van Drake. The cartoon before the sing-a-long to Supercalifragilisticexplialidocious involves a gag about antidisestablishmentarianism not being the word he was thinking of.
  • Shows up in Dave Barry's Money Secrets when showing the proper way to write a resume:

 "Results-oriented multitasking hands-on team-building problem-solving take-charge self-starter with enterprise-wide cross-functional productivity-enhancement management-specific capabilities including all phases of conceptualization, implementation, integration, augmentation, allocation, irrigation, fermentation, lactation, plantation, and antidisestablishmentarianism served over field greens with a balsamic viniagrette."

  • The Elizabethan form of this was the Latin word honorificabilitudinitatibus, (Literally, "to those things in the state of being able to achieve honours."
  • The Dutch variant is Hottentottententententoonstelling, Khoikhoi tents exhibition. It can be expanded to, among others, Hottentottententententoonstellingsterrein (Khoikhoi tents exhibition terrain).
    • It's easy to make large words in Dutch anyway, as most normal words remove spacing if used in an adjective way, so you can just stick words together that have barely any significance to one another. See Fietsventieldopjesfabrieksmedewerkersconventiespreker (Bike Valve Cap Factory Employee Convention Speaker), which are all words separated by spaces in English. Hottentottententententoonstelling is often used in a "she sells sea shells by the shore" way though.
    • Canadian Icelanders in Gimli have their own similar variant - Islendingadagurinn. Germanic languages have a tendency to mash words together, with strange and lengthy results.
  • The popular (yet notoriously hard to perform if you don't know German) anecdote written by Polish poet and satirist Julian Tuwim in 30's is centered on building the word "Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterbeutelrattenlattengitterkofferattentäter" ("Assassin of the Khoikhoi mother of the stuttering fool closed in the wicker cage for holding kangaroos").
  • In Switzerland, the captain of the company driving steamships on the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake of the four forest counties) is called a Vierwaldstätterseedampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftkapitän. And since German allows you to add any number of nouns to that word, you can extend it to just about any lenght you like.
  • Another popular go-to long word is "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis," frequently lauded as the longest word in the English language.
  • Hungarian has "Széttöredezettségmentesítőtleníttethetetlekedhetnétek".
    • Not to mention "megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért"
  • The Portuguese equivalent is "Anticonstitucionalissimamente" ("anticonstitutionally")
  • There used to be on The Other Wiki instructions for adding elements to this word, producing "propseudocontraneoantidisestablishmentarianistically" ("in a manner favouring false opposition to a new form of antidisestablishmentarianism").
  • Floccinaucinihilipilification is "the act or habit of calling something worthless."

Notes

  1. You might note it still contains two different ways to pronounce the letter "a"; three to pronounce "s" in one of which it is combined with another letter; depending on whether one is speaking British or American two to three ways to pronounce "i", the third of which is as a diphtong; and three different ways to pronounce "e"; all within the same word. And a couple of the vowel sounds are written with a different letter in different places. But by the standards of English, that's "spelled exactly as it's pronounced".
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