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Antidisestablishmentarianism

Definition: A political stance against the disestablishment of a state church.

Pronunciation: An-tee-dis-es-tab-lish-ment-ayr-ee-in-ism

Origin: Possibly coined by British Prime Minster W. E. Gladstone in 1838. The ‘Established’ churches in the United Kingdom at the time included the Church of England (England and Wales) and the Church of Ireland. This caused particular problems in Ireland, where over 90% of the population at the time were Catholic – yet taxes had to be paid to the ‘official’ religion, the Church of Ireland. A political movement grew against this idea and calls for the removal of these Churches from their state-protected status began. It particularly gained momentum following Catholic Emancipation in Ireland in 1829. Those against the idea became known as Antidisestablishmentarianists. Disestablishment, however, did happen – in Ireland in 1871 and in parts of Wales in 1920.

Why this word?

This word belongs on this website. At 28 letters and 12 vowels in length, it is one of the longest accepted words in the English language. It is certainly the longest non-technical word.

How and when to use this word in a sentence:

This is an unusual one. Although it is a known word, its original meaning is now all but redundant. It is never used in its original sense. It is only ever now used in sentences to describe its curio value. How to use this in a sentence? There’s only one way:

“Did you know that antidisestablishmentarianism is one of the longest words in the English language?”

Of course, you could just do what Duke Ellington did: he wrote that famous song, You’re Just an Old Antidisestablishmentarianismist.

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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!

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