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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 09:11 GMT
Students discover lost word
A book
Antidisestablishmentarianism was found missing
One of the longest words in the English language has been returned to the dictionary after a group of students found it missing.

Psychology students at Kidlington Community Education Centre in Oxfordshire discovered that "antidisestablishmentarianism" had been left out of the 10th edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

After being contacted by one of the adult pupils, Nikki McNally, dictionary bosses have now promised to reinstate the word.

In a letter in reply, they wrote: "We have less evidence of genuine use of that word than we have for floccinaucinihilipilification.

It's never to late to learn, as our psychology students at Kidlington and the dictionary people both now know.

Fiona Williams, head of community education
"Nevertheless, I agree that antidisestablishmentarianism should not have been omitted from the tenth edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary."

The students at the centre in Oxford Road were asked by their tutor, Ruby Radwan, to sing Happy Birthday at the same time as writing the word antidisestablishmentarianism.

The aim was to demonstrate how it is difficult to use two senses at once.

The tutor had selected the word because she thought it was the longest in the English language.

Lesson learnt

But when students went to check its spelling in the dictionary they found it was no longer there.

Ms McNally, who lives in Kidlington and works as a childminder, wrote to the Oxford University Press, publishers of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, to ask why the word had been omitted.

Nikki said: "When I received my letter back I was thrilled to think that the word would now be back in the dictionary because of my letter."

Oxfordshire County Council's head of community education, Fiona Williams, said: "This is a really heartwarming story that puts the spotlight on adult education.

"It's never too late to learn, as our psychology students at Kidlington and the dictionary people both now know."

  • antidisestablishmentarianism is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England (rare): but popularly cited as an example of a long word".

  • floccinaucinihilipilification is defined as "the action or habit of estimating as worthless".

  • Click here to go to Oxford
    See also:

    03 Dec 02 | England
    26 Sep 02 | Breakfast
    17 Jan 02 | UK
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