Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2024)

Template:Infobox song

"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (/ˌsuːpərˌkælɪˌfrædʒɪˌlɪstɪkˌɛkspiˌælɪˈdoʊʃəs/ SOO-pər-KAL-i-FRA-ji-LIS-tik-EKS-pee-AL-i-DOH-shəs) is a song and single from the 1964 Disney musical film Mary Poppins. It was written by the Sherman Brothers, and sung by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.[1] It also appears in the 2004 stage show version.Because Mary Poppins was a period piece set in 1910, songs that sounded similar to songs of the period were wanted.[2] The movie version finished at #36 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

Story context[edit]

The song occurs in the chalk-drawing outing animated sequence, just after Mary Poppins wins a horse race. Flush with her victory, she is immediately surrounded by reporters who pepper her with leading questions and comment that she probably is at a loss for words. Mary disagrees, suggesting that at least one word is appropriate for the situation, and begins the song.

Word meaning and origin[edit]

The word is a compound word, and said by Richard Lederer in his book Crazy English to be made up of these words: super- "above", cali- "beauty", fragilistic- "delicate", expiali- "to atone", and -docious "educable", with all of these parts combined meaning "Atoning for being educable through delicate beauty."[citation needed]

The Oxford English Dictionary first records the word (with a spelling of "supercaliflawjalisticexpialadoshus") in the column titled "A-muse-ings" by Helen Herman in the Syracuse University Daily Orange, dated March 10, 1931.[3][4] In the column, Herman states that the word "implies all that is grand, great, glorious, splendid, superb, wonderful".[5][6]

The word was popularised in the 1964 film Mary Poppins,[3] in which it is used as the title of a song and defined as "something to say when you have nothing to say".

The Sherman Brothers, who wrote the Mary Poppins song, have given several conflicting explanations for the word's origin, in one instance claiming to have coined it themselves, based on their memories of having created double-talk words as children.[7] In another instance, they wrote:

When we were little boys in the mid-1930s, we went to a summer camp in the Adirondack Mountains, where we were introduced to a very long word that had been passed down in many variations through many generations of kids. … The word as we first heard it was super-cadja-flawjalistic-espealedojus.[8]

[3] while says it is "used as a nonsense word by children to express approval or to represent the longest word in English."[9]

Legal action[edit]

In 1965, the song was the subject of an unsuccessful lawsuit by songwriters Gloria Parker and Barney Young against Wonderland Music, Disney's music publishing subsidiary, and publisher of the song from the film.[10] The plaintiffs alleged that it was a copyright infringement of their 1949 song "Supercalafajalistickespeealadojus". Also known as "The Super Song", it was recorded by Alan Holmes and His New Tones for Columbia Records, with vocal by Hal Marquess and the Holmes Men, and music and lyrics by Patricia Smith (a Gloria Parker pen name) and Don Fenton.[3][11] Another recording of "Supercalafajalistickespeealadojus", performed by The Arabian Knights and published by Gloro Records, was released in 1951. The Disney publishers won the lawsuit in part because they produced affidavits showing that "variants of the word were known... many years prior to 1949".[11]

Backwards version[edit]

During the song, Poppins says, "You know, you can say it backwards, which is 'dociousaliexpilistic-fragilcalirupus', but that's going a bit too far, don't you think?" (To which Dick Van Dyke replies, "Indubitably.") Andrews' husband, Tony Walton, who also designed the sets and costumes, came up with the backwards version.

Her claim was not about spelling it backwards, but rather saying it backwards; in other words, if one breaks the word into several sections or prosodic feet ("super-cali-fragi-listic-expi-ali-docious") and recites them in reverse sequence, and also modifies "super" to "rupes", it comes close to what Poppins said in the film. However, when the word is spelled backwards it actually becomes "suoicodilaipxecitsiligarfilacrepus", which is different.[12]

In the stage musical, the word's actual spelling reversal is used, while rapper Ghostface Killah said "docious-ali-expi-listic-fragi-cali-super", which is the full prosody version, in his song "Buck 50" released on his album Supreme Clientele.[13]

Chart history[edit]

"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" was released as a single, achieving a measure of commercial success on the U.S. music charts. It peaked at number 66 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It did much better on the Adult Contemporary chart, reaching number 14.[14]

Chart (1965)Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[15]66
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[14]14
US Cash Box Top 100[16]80


RegionCertificationCertified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[17]Silver200,000Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1)

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2)sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Stage musical[edit]

In the stage musical, Mary Poppins takes Jane and Michael Banks to visit Mrs Corry's shop to buy "an ounce of conversation", only to find that Mrs Corry has run out of conversation. She does, however have some letters, and Jane and Michael each pick out seven, with Mary choosing one also. As Bert, Mary and the rest of the ensemble struggle to create words out of the fifteen letters, Mary reminds them that they can always use the same letter more than once, and creates the word (and song) Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. In addition, the cast spells it out in a kind of gesture that was suggested by choreographer Stephen Mear, whose partner is deaf.[citation needed]

Other references[edit]

English yachtsman Rodney Pattisson won three Olympic medals in sailing during the Games of 1968 (gold), 1972 (gold) and 1976 (silver) in a Flying Dutchman called Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious written in large colorful waves on the hull.

Japanese rock band Boøwy included a song called "SUPER-CALIFRAGILISTIC-EXPIARI-DOCIOUS" that was written by their guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei on their 1986 number one album Beat Emotion.[18]

Punk Band The Vandals covered the song on their 1995 album Live Fast, Diarrhea.

In February 2000, Inverness Caledonian Thistle defeated Glasgow's Celtic FC 3–1 in the third round of the Scottish Cup football competition. The result, one of the biggest ever upsets in Scottish football, led to the famous newspaper headline "Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious" by The Sun.[19] The Guardian rated it as number 5 in six of the greatest football headlines.[20]

One pun on the word jokes that Mahatma Gandhi was a "super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis".[21]

In 2016, Randy Rainbow created a parody video of the song, in which he called (then-candidate) Donald Trump "super callous fragile egocentric braggadocious", "super careless fragile ego extra braggadocious", "super sleazy fabricating sexist and obnoxious", "superficial chauvinistic arrogant and thoughtless", and "super calculated adolescent braggadocious".[22]

In 2017, Dick Van Dyke was selected to receive an award for television excellence from BAFTA, at which time he said "I appreciate this opportunity to apologise to the members of Bafta for inflicting on them the most atrocious co*ckney accent in the history of cinema." A chief executive of Bafta responded, "We look forward to his acceptance speech in whatever accent he chooses on the night. We have no doubt it will be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."[23]

In 2018, Girona manager Pablo Machín was asked to describe his club, using only one word. He responded "Ok, I'll use the longest word I know: supercalifragilisticoespialidoso".[24]

The song, '愛Dee'(Ai Dee) by Youtuber Mitchie M[25] contains the compound word during a rap part, and in 2021, a cover was sung by Hololive's virtual idols Momosuzu Nene and Pavolia Reine, with the latter singing the word during the rap part.[26]

In 2022, the word was also rhymed by American rapper Sosamann in his song entitled 'supercalifragilistic'.[27]

See also[edit]

  • Longest word in English
  • Sesquipedalianism
  • Fortuosity, another Sherman Brothers nonsense word song from The Happiest Millionaire


  1. ^ Hischak, Thomas S.; Robinson, Mark A. (2009). The Disney Song Encyclopedia. Scarecrow Press. p.189. ISBN9780810869387.
  2. ^ The Making of Mary Poppins (2004) at IMDb
  3. ^ a b c d "Home: Oxford English Dictionary". Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  4. ^ "The Real Origin of 'Supercalifragilistic'". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  5. ^ Helen Herman (March 10, 1931). "A-Muse-ings". Daily Orange.
  6. ^ Ben Zimmer (April 23, 2012). "Tracking Down the Roots of a "Super" Word". Visual Thesaurus. Thinkmap, Inc. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  7. ^ Richard M. Sherman (November 2, 2007). Interview with Brad Herman. “LAist Interview: Richard M. Sherman”. LAist Template:ISO date/en閲覧。.
  8. ^ Sherman, Robert B.; Sherman, Richard M. (1998). Walt's Time: From Before to Beyond (1sted.). Santa Clarita, CA: Camphor Tree. ISBN978-0964605930.
  9. ^ "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Is "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" a real word referring to Irish hookers?". The Straight Dope. August 6, 2002. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: What does it mean?". BBC News. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  12. ^ "KTKA News: Mary Poppins involved in 44-year cover-up". Archived from the original on July 27, 2011.
  13. ^ "Ghostface Killah (Ft. Cappadonna, Method Man & Redman) – Buck 50". Genius. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  14. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1993). Joel Whitburn's Top Adult Contemporary 1961–1993. Record Research. p.17.
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1994). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990. Record Research. ISBN978-0-89820-089-8.
  16. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles". May 15, 1965. Archived from the original on May 10, 2015. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  17. ^ "British single certifications – Julie Andrews & Dick Van Dyke – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field.Select Silver in the Certification field.Enter Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in the search field and then press Enter.
  18. ^ "SUPER-CALIFRAGILISTIC-EXPIARI-DOCIOUSの歌詞 BOΦWY ORICON NEWS" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  19. ^ "Super Caley dream realistic?". BBC Sport. 22 March 2003.
  20. ^ Scott Murray (12 December 2008). "The Joy of Six: great football headlines". The Guardian.
  21. ^ Peter B Gilkey (2 May 2004). "Subject: 10 PUNS".
  22. ^ Gross, Terry (17 July 2019). "Satirist Randy Rainbow Uses Show Tunes And Pop Songs To Lampoon Trump".
  23. ^ Khomami, Nadia (July 21, 2017). "Dick Van Dyke sorry for 'atrocious co*ckney accent' in Mary Poppins". The Guardian. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  24. ^ Lowe, Sid (1 March 2018). "It's time to dream of Europe for La Liga's trio of great overachievers". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  25. ^ |[Miku & Luka sing like humans] Ai Dee feat. Hatsune Miku & Megurine Luka [Official PV]
  26. ^ |【Cover】愛Dee (Ai Dee) / Pavolia Reine × Momosuzu Nene
  27. ^ "Sosamann "supercalifragilistic" (Dir. By TeoShotThis)". YouTube.

External links[edit]

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3)

Look up supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Template:Mary Poppins

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2024)


Is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious even a real word? ›

"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" is an adjective that translates to "extremely good" or "wonderful". The word originated in the 1964 film Mary Poppins. It is a nonsensical word that appears in some dictionaries, but not all.

What is the longest word in Disney? ›

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (pronounced /ˌsuːpərˌkælɪˌfrædʒəlˌɪstɪkˌɛkspiːˌælɪˈdoʊʃəs/) is an English word, with 34 letters, that was a song with the same title in the Disney musical movie Mary Poppins.

Is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious the longest word in history? ›

At 34 letters long, “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” is not even the longest word in the Dictionary. That honor is bestowed upon a 45-letter medical term that we will not even dare try to pronounce (you can take a crack at it, though): “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis”.

What is the longest word in the world Mary Poppins? ›

The word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in Mary Poppins is said to be simply a word used as "something to say when you have nothing to say," but the mouthful of nonsensical syllables certainly has brought cheer to audiences for decades.

What is a 190000 letter word? ›

Technically speaking, the longest word in English is “Methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylarginyl… isoleucine”. That's the scientific name for the largest protein in the human body, scientifically known as 'titin,' made up of over 190,000 letters.

What is the 1 longest word in the world? ›

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest word entered in the most trusted English dictionaries.

What is the shortest word in the world? ›

The Shortest Word

Some might wonder about the word I since it consists of one letter, too. In sound, a is shorter because it is a monophthong (consists of one vowel), while I is a diphthong. Both do consist of one letter in the English writing system, and in most fonts I is the narrowest letter.

What is the full 189819 lettered word for titin? ›

1. methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylalanyl…isoleucine. You'll notice there's an ellipsis here, and that's because this word, in total, is 189,819 letters long, and it's the chemical name for the largest known protein, titin.

Which word has 52 letters? ›

To my surprise, I learned Strother is credited with creating the term aequeosalinocalcalinoceraceoaluminosocupreovitriolic. He used this 52-letter word to describe the spa waters of the Roman Baths in Bath, England.

What is the longest F word? ›


What is the longest word has 189819 letters takes three hours to pronounce? ›

The longest word in English has 189,819 letters and takes 3 hours to pronounce. This is a technical term for the chemical composition of titin.

Is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious a tongue twister? ›

World's Hardest Tongue Twisters

Below we have given a list of some of the hardest tongue twisters for you: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Six sick hicks nick six slick bricks with picks and sticks.

Who first said supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? ›

It turns out the first established use of the word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”—or at least a word that comes extremely close—was not in London, by a mysterious nanny or a chimney sweep. It came from Helen Herman, a student at Syracuse University in 1931.

What is the longest word you can say in English? ›

The longest word in any of the major English language dictionaries is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters), a word that refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, specifically from a volcano; medically, it is the same as silicosis.

Is there a word longer than Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis? ›

The longest English word is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, which is forty-five letters long and refers to a type of lung disease. If you're including technical words, the longest English word— and longest word in the world—is this word, a chemical name for a protein that is 189,819 letters long.

What is the longest word that has 189819 letters? ›

Longest word in English
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