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Should supercalifragilistikexpialidocious be a word in the dictionary?

Updated on March 2, 2012

I guess someone is just always going to ask about the elephant in the room. It had really never occurred to me before now to ask this question, but I will attempt to answer it.

Should supercalifragilistikexpialidocious be a word in the dictionary?

Well first of all, it is and is not a word in the traditional sense. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious means great, fantastic or extremely cool, as defined by some online resources. It can also be used as an exclamation or as a way to describe something that surprises and delights you. Although these sources are not officially considered dictionaries, so this continues to beg the question at hand.

Okay I did the research on this one, so here is what I came up with.

First of all, supercalifragilistikexpialidocious is not a word in correct grammatical sense. It has five root words being used ( ie. super- "above", cali- "beauty", fragilistic- "delicate", expiali- "to atone", and docious- "educable"), several morphemes (ie. -istic is a suffix in English, whereas the morpheme ex- is typically a prefix) but they do not conform to correct morphology, and the pronounciation of the letter c doesn't normally sound like a k, all of these are problematic. Even if morphology was thrown to the wind, it really ends up being two separate words smashed together, or the combination of supercalifragilistic and expialidocious.

These are probably the reasons why Richard and Robert Sherman did not try to copyright the name, which they claim comes from two weeks of double talk. Walt Disney Studios titled it - " The Super Song " and also avoided any debate about copyright on the word or name for their purposes.

But still should supercalifragilistikexpialidocious be a word in the dictionary? For my final decision I went to Merriam-Webster online for the criterion about what they choose to put in the modern dictionary.

Each day the Merriam-Webster organization makes citations about interesting new words, word usage, and other things to do with language on the planet. It takes more than a few of these citations and many incidents over time for a word to even be a footnote in the dictionary, usually millions a day or week for a period of years. Although unusual to be sure supercalifragilistikexpialidocious has never hit anywhere near this level of public interest and among musical songs, it is far from these stats as well. Even if it had been more popular in usage, this is a word that would probably only appear in the New International dictionaries that can accommodate such large word changes annually, but would never be likely to enter the ranks of the Collegiate dictionaries that have limited space for new words, as it is.

Well I hope that clears the issue up a little, but my answer is very simply...No.

Should supercalifragilistikexpialidocious be a word in the dictionary or any dictionary for that matter? Maybe some would argue that is should, but by the standards and reasoning that dictionary publishers have always used for word entries and submission no, it should not.



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    • blake4d profile image

      Blake Ford Hall 5 years ago from Now Rising Out of Phoenix Arizona Earthlings

      Thanx everyone for your input. Keep on Hubbing. Blake4d

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I must say that i like the sound of the word, but you're correct, it shouldn't be in the dictionary. This is a fun hub that required a lot of extensive work..Voted up..

    • profile image

      Emer420 5 years ago

      Haha. I love that you used my question to write this hub. It is very informational and interesting..:)

    • LABrashear profile image

      LABrashear 5 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

      Wow - you went to a lot of work for this. Disney should offer you some sort of compensation! Voted up!

    • blake4d profile image

      Blake Ford Hall 5 years ago from Now Rising Out of Phoenix Arizona Earthlings

      LOL. Yes I think you got me there...hats off to Charlu. Keep on hubbing. Blake4d

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 5 years ago from Florida

      Maybe because the sound of it is something quite atrocious or if you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious :)). Nice hub