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Arms of the See of Canterbury, governing the Church of England, mother of the Anglican Communion.

Antidisestablishmentarianism (UK Listeni/ˌæn.ti.dɪz.ɪs.tæb.lɪʃ.mənˈtɛə.rɪə.nɪ.zm/, US Listeni/ˌæn.tˌdɪs.ɛsˌtæb.lɪʃ.məntˈɛ.ri.ənˌɪ.zm/) is a political position that originated in 19th-century Britain. The position opposes proposals for the disestablishment of the Church of England—meaning to remove its 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. In Wales, four Church of England dioceses were disestablished in 1920 and became the Church in Wales.


The matter of disestablishment of the Church of England is an ongoing issue, often tied with the position of the Monarchy of the United Kingdom as “Supreme Governor” of the Church (see Act of Settlement 1701). Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said in April 2014 that he thought the Church of England and the British state should be separated "in the long run".[1] David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time, responded to Clegg's comments by stating that the position was "a long-term Liberal idea, but it is not a Conservative one," adding that he believed the existence of an established church is beneficial.[1]

Word length[edit]

The word antidisestablishmentarianism is notable for its unusual length of 28 letters and 12 syllables (an-ti-dis-es-tab-lish-men-tar-i-an-is-m), and is one of the longest words in the English language.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Nick Clegg advocates separation of Church and state". BBC News. BBC. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  2. ^ What is the longest English word? Oxford Dictionaries Online


  • Adrian Hastings, Church and State: the English Experience (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1991.)

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