Chamblee54

The S Word

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on January 24, 2011







There is a feature today on NPR discussing ” “What’s The Longest Word In The English Language?”. The old crowd pleaser antidisestablishmentarianism was dismissed as “Just a bundle of suffixes and prefixes piled up into a little attention-grabbing hummock.” It also has 28 letters, which won’t even get it into the playoffs.

When it comes to big words, there is nothing like science. In 1964, a book called “Chemical Abstracts” published a 1,185 letter word, referring to a protein found in the tobacco mosaic virus. It starts with glu and ends with sine. This word is 8.44 tweets long.

Words like glu…sine are not used often, which brings us to the obvious winner, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious .It is the theme song for a dance routine in a movie starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke , and a few dozen animated characters.

According to the urban dictionary, Miss Andrews was not fond of Rob Petrie.
“It’s reported that Ms. Andrews replied, “Fuck you! I hate you!! You’re a ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidouchebag’!!!! And get away from my door!! Why don’t you go eat “A Spoonful of Feces “!!!” (This problem might have been caused by SupercalifragilisticexpiHalitosis )
At 34 letters, the s word is the longest english word that most of us have heard of. While it probably was made up by over-imaginative songwriters, it is defined by a reputed dictionary. It translates as superkalifragilistikexpialigetisch (German), supercalifragilistichespiralidoso(Italian) and supercalifragilisticoespialidoso (Spanish). The French are too cool to use it.

A website called Straightdope has a highly entertaining feature called Is “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” a real word referring to Irish hookers? .
“Our research first took us to a lawsuit that was filed after the movie came out by Life Music, Inc., against Wonderland Music, the publisher of the Mary Poppins song. It was a copyright infringement suit brought by Barney Young and Gloria Parker, who had written a song in 1949 entitled “Supercalafajaistickespeealadojus” and shown it to Disney in 1951. They asked for twelve million dollars in damages. The suit was decided in the Shermans’ favor because, among other reasons, affidavits were produced from two New Yorkers, Stanley Eichenbaum and Clara Colclaster, who claimed that “variants of the word were known to and used by them many years prior to 1949.”
The decision makes for fairly humorous reading. Apparently the judge got tired of writing out the whole word, so every time it had to be mentioned it was replaced by the phrase “the word” as if it were some loathsome artifact that had to be held at arm’s length. “

There is another story that has the s word appearing in a humor magazine at Syracuse University. An archivist named Mary O’Brien says that rumor surfaces every ten years or so, and is not true. Another old husbands tale has children in summer camps taught a song super-cadja-flawjalistic-espealedojus. This cannot be confirmed or denied.

As for the tale about Irish entrpenuers, there is a story in Maxim magazine. It says
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, the word supposedly coined by Mary Poppins to make kids sound “precocious,” was actually invented by turn-of-the-century Scottish coal miners. It was used to request “the works” from prostitutes by men too shy to recite specific acts.” The link supplied by StraightDope does not work.




3 Responses

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  1. The I Word « Chamblee54 said, on September 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    […] feature is a repost. It is about a popular contender for the longest word, which is known here as The S Word. Pictures today are from The Library of […]

  2. The I Word | Chamblee54 said, on September 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    […] Part two of this feature is about a popular contender for the longest word. It is known here as The S Word. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a […]

  3. I | Chamblee54 said, on September 20, 2014 at 9:53 am

    […] Part two of this feature is about a popular contender for the longest word. It is known here as The S Word. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This repost is written like H.P. […]


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