What is it? What’s with it? Why it exist? Where does it come from? Who made it?
I bet you also feel the same weirdness as I am right now. The word isn’t new cos I’ve already heard it many years ago – elementary, most probably. I never thought such a word exist cos it is long and it seems like meaningless to me and it is somewhat stupid. Fourteen or fifteen years ago, my English teacher asked the class to give the most syllabicated word we can utter; Only four to five syllables are the most syllabicated word we give. We thought there’s no way a word can have more than 5 syllables; surprisingly, this word amazed us – and who wouldn’t? Whosoever encounters this word for the first time will be amazed.
So, what is this word?
According to my research, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is actually a 34 lettered song title from the 1964 movie Mary Poppins (a). Like what I’ve said, I first met this ridiculous word 15 years ago or so. It’s mysterious and it’s funny. All I know that time was that – it was accepted as a ‘word’ and considered the longest word and even the highest syllabicated word.
What’s with it?
As a song title, it is a proper noun, but the word, and variations, has entered the English language as an adjective. It is one of the longest words in the English language(a). It is also called a non-sense word meaning fantastic; and was used by children to express approval or to represent the longest word in English (b). So, it is a song. I have tried looking for a sample and fortunately found one in YouTube: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. IT was fun.
Yet another YouTube video of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Why it exist? The song describes using the word as a miraculous way to talk oneself out of difficult situations, and even as a way to change one's mood. The song appears in the film's animated sequence where Mary Poppins is harangued by reporters after winning a horse race and responds to one claiming there are not words to describe her feelings of the moment. Mary disagrees with that and begins the song about one word she can use. Ever since, the word is used as an adjective referring to "absolutely stunningly fantastic" (c)
. Since it is a movie, it will be nice if I’ll rent it and check. I’ll expect it to be funny; I hope so.
Where it come from?
The roots of the word are fairly clear, as Richard Lederer wrote in his book Crazy English: super- "above," cali- "beauty," fragilistic- "delicate," expiali- "to atone," and docious- "educable," the sum meaning roughly "Atoning for extreme and delicate beauty while still being highly educable." This is the perfect word for Mary Poppins to use, being that she thinks of herself as incredibly beautiful but also extremely intelligent. (c). This word really amazed me every now and then. The more you get to know the history of this word, the more exciting it gets. I wonder If I can make my own meaning to it. Could it be possible? Nah! It’s plagiarism.
Who made it?
Actually I don’t know either. Perhaps, it’s the writer of the ‘Mary Poppins’ animated series or the songwriter. Oh well…if ever I missed something, you better search the inet for more info cos mine is limited and word was weird enough to have a crazy history.
b. What is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
Labels: peculiar individuality, simpleyesa, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious