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with Anu Garg

antidisestablishmentarianism

(an-tee-dis-eh-stab-lish-men-TAIR-ee-uh-niz-em) noun

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

Opposition to separation of the church and state.

[From Latin anti- (against) + dis- (apart, away) + English establish, from Latin stabilire, from stare (to stand) + -arian (one who supports) + Greek -ism (practice or state).]

At 28 letters, it's the best-known example of a long word. Here's how you can parse the word: one of the meanings of the word establishment is making a church an institution of the state. In the late 19th century England, there was a movement for the separation of the church and state: disestablishment. Those opposed to the idea of separation were antidisestablishmentarians. You can see where it's going. Why not a contraantidisestablishmentarianism?

"As we said yesterday, the case for antidisestablishmentarianism has never been more threadbare. And if the case for the sovereign as head of a meaningful faith has gone, then the case for the sovereign has changed too."
Royal Wedding: Crowning Nonsense; The Guardian (London, UK); Apr 9, 2005.

X-Bonus

If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture - that is immortality enough for me. -Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

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