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Antidisestablishmentarianism (listen to , ) is a political position that originated in 19th-century Britain in opposition to proposals for the disestablishment of the Church of England, that is, 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. In Wales, four Church of England dioceses were disestablished in 1920, subsequently becoming the Church in Wales.
The question of disestablishment of the Church of England is still current, often tied with the position of the Monarchy of the United Kingdom as “Supreme Governor” of the Church (see Act of Settlement 1701).
The word is notable for its unusual length of 28 letters and 12 syllables. It is one of the longest words in the English language. It is commonly believed to be the longest word in English found in major dictionaries (www.oxforddictionary.com), excluding coined and technical terms. It rose to the public consciousness in The United States via a popular TV show in the 1950s ["The $64,000 Question"] when a young contestant correctly spelled it to win. A slightly longer but less commonly accepted variant of the word can be found in the Duke Ellington song "You're Just an Old Antidisestablishmentarianismist" although the correct construction of that word would be "antidisestablishmentarianist" (without the "ism") or "antidisestablishmentarian".
The word construction is as follows (the numbers succeeding the word refer to the number of letters in the word):
- establish (9)
- to set up, put in place, or institute (originally from the Latin stare, to stand)
- dis-establish (12)
- to end the established status of a body, in particular a church, given such status by law, such as the Church of England
- disestablish-ment (16)
- the separation of church and state (specifically in this context it is the political movement of the 1860s in Britain)
- anti-disestablishment (20)
- opposition to disestablishment
- antidisestablishment-ary (23)
- of or pertaining to opposition to disestablishment
- antidisestablishmentari-an (25)
- an opponent of disestablishment
- antidisestablishmentarian-ism (28)
- the movement or ideology that opposes disestablishment
|Look up antidisestablishmentarianism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Adrian Hastings, Church and state : the English experience (Exeter : University of Exeter Press, 1991.)
- Antidisestablishmentarianism in the Online Etymology Dictionary
- Antidisestablishmentarianismist in the Urban Dictionary