Arms of the See of Canterbury, governing the Church of England

Antidisestablishmentarianism (/ˌæntidɪsɪˌstæblɪʃmənˈtɛəriənɪzəm/ (About this soundlisten), US also /ˌænt-/ (About this soundlisten)) is a political movement that developed in 19th-century Britain in opposition to Disestablishmentarianism, the Liberal Party's efforts to disestablish or remove the Church of England as the official state church of England, Ireland, and Wales. The Church's status has been maintained in England, but in Ireland, the Anglican Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1871. In Wales, four Church of England dioceses were disestablished in 1920 and became the Church in Wales.

Antidisestablishmentarianism is also frequently noted as one of the longest non-scientific words in the English language.


The matter of disestablishment of the Church of England is an ongoing issue, often tied with the position of the Monarchy of the United Kingdom as "Supreme Governor" of the Church (see Act of Settlement 1701).

In April 2014, Nick Clegg, then Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said that he thought the Church of England and the British state should be separated "in the long run".[1] David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time, responded to Clegg's comments by stating that the position was "a long-term Liberal idea, but it is not a Conservative one", adding that he believed the existence of an established church is beneficial.[1]

Word lengthEdit

The word antidisestablishmentarianism is notable for its unusual length of 28 letters and 12 syllables (an-ti-dis-es-tab-lish-ment-ar-i-an-is-m), and is one of the longest words in the English language.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Nick Clegg advocates separation of Church and state". BBC News. BBC. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  2. ^ What is the longest English word? Oxford Dictionaries Online


  • Adrian Hastings, Church and State: the English Experience (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1991.)

External linksEdit