Some hill in New Zealand

in New Zealand

I’m sure you’ve heard the word “antidisestablishmentarianism” at some point in your life. It’s allegedly the longest word in the English language. This Wikipedia article tells us there are longer words, but they don’t count.

I remember looking up the definition years ago and not really getting it. I looked it up again today, and found it related to this blog. Wiktionary explains it well:

Said by Weekley to be first recorded in Gladstone’s “Church and State”, in reference to a scheme directed against the Church of England. From establishment in the sense of the ecclesiastical system established by law; the Church of England.

to set up, put in place, or institute (originally from the Latin stāre, to stand)

dis- + establish
ending the established status of a body, in particular a church, given such status by law, such as the Church of England

disestablish + -ment
the separation of church and state (specifically in this context it is the political movement of the 1860s in Britain)

anti- + disestablishment
opposition to disestablishment

antidisestablishment + -arian
an advocate of opposition to disestablishment (alternatively, but less likely and quite similar in meaning, “opposed to disestablishmentarians”, depending on what “anti-” is taken to belong to)

antidisestablishmentarian + -ism
the movement or ideology of advocates of opposition to disestablishment; the movement or ideology that opposes disestablishment (simply not wanting a separation of church and state)

Whew! That’s quite word. So the official definition is:

A political philosophy opposed to the separation of a religious group (“church”) and a government (“state”), esp. the belief held by those in 19th century England opposed to separating the Anglican church from the civil government.

As you can see, it arose out of an effort to disentangle church and state in 19th century England. This definition also implies that it can be used more generally.

That means that I am a disestablishmentarian (21 letters), and my philosophy is disestablishmentarianism (24 letters). The modern fundies, therefore, advocate antidisestablishmentarianism (28 letters).

But I study the behavior of these people. You could say that what I do is antidisestablishmentarianismology (33 letters). This, of course, makes me an antidisestablishmentarianismologist (35 letters). Beat that, fundies!

11 Responses to “Antidisestablishmentarianism”

  1. 4theist Says:

    Just wanted to point out the image at

    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales (and in Welsh) beats out Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu by ONE LETTER! (I love that there are four consecutive Ls in the name.)

  2. TB Tabby Says:

    According to Wordnik, the actual name of Bangkok is Krungthepmahanakonbowornratanakosinmahintarayudyayamahadiloponoparatanarajthaniburiromudomrajniwesmahasatarnamornpimarnavatarsatitsakattiyavisanukamphrasit.

  3. Ron Britton Says:

    You broke my margins!

    Actually, none of these place names counts, because this article is about English. The sign in New Zealand is actually in Maori. The sign in Wales is cetacean, and the name of Bangkok is a combination of two ancient Indian languages (Wikipedia shows it written as 21 words).

  4. ericsan Says:

    My favorite Welsh village is Llandewy Breffy, but that’s two words, cetacean and too short. I’m just sayin’.

  5. Syldoran Says:

    Oh, those poor broken margins!

  6. Taz Says:

    I just pretend to do what you do. I’m a

  7. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I don’t like those who pretend to do what Ron does, so I’m an antipseudoantidisestablishmentarianismologist.

  8. OtherRob Says:

    I’ve just started not liking those who pretend to do what Ron does so I’m a neoantipseudoantidisestablishmentarianismologist.

  9. dvsrat Says:

    I started not liking those who pretend to do what Ron does after the OtherRob did so I’m a postneoantipseudoantidisestablishmentarianismologist.

  10. dvsrat Says:

    And, of course, there are those who have a fear of the postneoantipseudoantidisestablishmentarianismologists. Such individuals have a condition that is commonly known as postneoantipseudoantidisestablishmentarianismologistphobia.

  11. Kimpatsu Says:

    What, has nobody mentioned floccinaucinihilipilification yet?