#FOWC — Spelling Bee

152F70D2-8A90-4AF6-BCEC-A75F68AC1DE2I don’t recall exactly how old I was at the time, but I remember when someone told me that the longest word in the English language was “antidisestablishmentarianism.” I was intrigued by that word and decided that my mission in life would be to memorize its spelling and proceed to dazzle people with my ability to, off-the-cuff, spell that word for anyone who would listen.

I wrote down all 28 letters of the word and set about committing it to memory. It didn’t take that long and once memorized, I proceeded to walk around demonstrating that I could spell the longest word in the English language. Woo hoo!

But then my father asked me if I knew what the word meant. I had no idea. “Don’t you think it would be wise for you to not only know how to spell the word, but to know what it means?” he asked.

Yeah, okay, that makes sense. Of course, back then Google didn’t exist, so I went to my school library, walked up to this huge, honkin’ unabridged dictionary that was mounted on top of an ornate wooden pedestal, and opened it up to the page that contained the word “antidisestablishmentarianism.”

I learned that it referred to a political position during the Reformation in the 16th century. King Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife, so he split from Roman Catholicism. Those against him were “anti” the “disestablishment” of the church and thus, didn’t approve of the budding Anglican Church, later known as the Church of England. Not very relevant to a young, American boy, but that was no reason not to be proud of my ability to spell the longest word in the English language.

Except it’s not the longest word in the English language. The real longest word is “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” which refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, such as those from a volcano.

But antidisestablishmentarianism remains the longest non-technical, non-coined word in English.

And yes, I know. One of you wise-asses is bound to comment, “Fandango, the actual longest word in the English language is ‘smiles.’ There’s a mile between the esses.”


Written for today’s Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “wise,” and for today’s Word of the Day Challenge, the prefix “anti.”

15 thoughts on “#FOWC — Spelling Bee

  1. Michael July 24, 2018 / 9:06 am

    😁 i like that…
    Pre google research – now there’s a thing
    .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. writebrainwidow July 24, 2018 / 11:35 am

    Oh, geez…..that was so far back in my memory bank from grammar school spelling bees. Thanks for the history of the extra long word – very cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pensitivity101 July 24, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    Haven’t heard of either and they won’t fit on the scrabble board. Please don’t have one of them as your one word challenge! Pretty impressive though, I must admit. Knew about SmileS too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sight11 July 24, 2018 / 5:35 pm

    Dammit the ‘miles’ missed because of your wise-as-ness. Oops!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marilyn Armstrong July 24, 2018 / 7:04 pm

    The longest WORD is the name of that nearly lake in Webster, which is …

    Lake Chargoggaggoggmancogmanhoggagogg. Believe it of not, a lot of local people can not ONLY spell it, they can SAY it. I can do neither and have to look it up because I also can’t remember it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango July 24, 2018 / 7:19 pm

      Yikes. I would just refer to it as “the lake.”

      Like

  6. talesfromthemindofkristian July 25, 2018 / 3:59 am

    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

    Is the name of a place in Anglesey, Wales. That is supposed to be the longest place name.
    It is often abbreviated to Lanfair PG.
    I learnt how to say it when I was at University in Wales.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango July 25, 2018 / 7:32 am

      Yikes. Is that an English word or a Welsh word? And us there a difference?

      Liked by 1 person

      • talesfromthemindofkristian July 25, 2018 / 7:46 am

        It is a Welsh word and there is very much a difference. Welsh is a very different language, it is related the Gaelic spoken in parts of Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall. There are parts of Wales where English is a second language not spoken at home. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fandango July 25, 2018 / 7:47 am

          Thanks for the explanation. I would never even attempt to pronounce that word.

          Like

  7. newepicauthor July 25, 2018 / 6:52 am

    Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious has 32 letters and it is used as “something to say when you have nothing to say”. Kind of like this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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