Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Antidisestablishmentarianism


Has the reader noticed that the last six blogs have all have one-syllable word titles between four and six letters? And the last one just one letter? The first two just happened that way, but then I thought about setting myself the task of all my December titles being one syllable. But being the rebel I am, I opposed my own program and decided to write the longest word I knew as a title— antidisestablishmentarianism. I was impressed that I could both remember the word from my childhood and knew how to spell it (and impressed the Spellcheck knew it as well!). But having made the title, it occurred to me that I had to say something about it!

Truth be told, I’ve never been clear what it meant. So on to Wikipedia and here is their definition:

A political position that originated in 19th-century Britain. The position opposes proposals for the disestablishment of the Church of England—meaning to remove the Anglican Church’s status as the state church of England, Ireland, and Wales. The establishment was maintained in England, but in Ireland the Church of Ireland (Anglican) was disestablished in 1871.”

Hmm. Seems like there’s not going to be a lot of occasions to use that in a conversation.

“How do you feel about the Tea Party?”

“ Do you have a vomit bucket handy?”

“Do you use a Mac or PC?”

“Long time Mac user.”

“What’s your opinion about changing the status of the Anglican Church in the 1800’s?”

“So glad you asked. I am firmly antidisestablishmentarianism.”

As for this being the longest word, its 28 letters were long ago (at least since my kids were around) trumped by the 45 letter “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis,” a disease of the lungs coal miners get by inhaling small particles. Then there’s “supercalifragilisticexpialodocious” in between the other two, but as an invented word, it’s cheating. “Takapyoranetumainentakatukivarsi,” my favorite word in Finnish for a small car part around the wheel’s axle, clocks in at 32 letters, but that’s small by Finnish standards. Note “lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas,” an airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student (61 letters).

If I were writing SAT tests, I’d give this problem:

A lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas who was antidisestablishmentarianism contracted pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis
while fixing his takapyoranetumainentakatukivarsi in the coal country. Explain.

PS: My new favorite long word? "Hipopotomounstruosesquipedaliofobia." Which means … (drum roll here)…  “Fear of long words!”

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