Robert B Sherman, half of the famous songwriting duo behind a string of Disney musical hits, has died. One of his most famous co-creations was the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. What's the story behind it?


It was introduced into lớn the Mary Poppins story by American composers Robert và Richard Sherman when they adapted the PL Travers book for the big screen.

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In the 1964 musical film, starring Julie Andrews, the nanny with magical powers wins an unorthodox race - on merry-go-round horses - và is surrounded by reporters who say she must be lost for words.


"It's something lớn say when you don't know what khổng lồ say," says one of the two children, Jane. So in the film, the word has no meaning, although it acts as a powerful keepsake from the children's magical adventure.


Inan interview with a trang web in Los Angeles, Richard Sherman once said it was a word constructed in the same way he & his brother used to 3D words in their childhood.


"We used to lớn make up the big double-talk words, we could make a big obnoxious word up for the kids and that's where it started.


"We had 'precocious' và 'atrocious' & we wanted something super-colossal và that's corny, so we took 'super' và did double-talk to lớn get 'califragilistic' which means nothing, it just came out that way.


According lớn the Oxford English Dictionary, the word has now come lớn mean an expression of excited approval.


But it says there was an earlier form of the word, supercalafajalistickespialadojus, first documented in a tuy vậy in 1949.

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Whatever the true origins - and the Shermans always maintained they were unaware of the other tuy nhiên - they popularised the word which, nearly 50 years on, does not seem lớn have sầu lost its magic.


Fans of Scottish football club Celtic will not want reminding that one of the most memorable newspaper headlines in recent years was coined after lowly Inverness Caledonian went to lớn the fortress of Parkhead & beat Celtic in the Scottish Cup in 2000.


"For me it's all about rhythm," says lexicographer Susie Dent. "Although the word has developed a semi-independent life of its own, it is hard not to lớn hear the tuy nhiên in your head as you recite it, & 'recite' seems khổng lồ be the better word than 'say'.


"It is unwieldy in its length, yes, but it is also beautifully crafted in its beat so that once you learn it, it is hard lớn forget.


"Its cheerful child-lượt thích nonsensicality - a much clumsier word - reflects rather wonderfully the idea of the fantastic và fabulous."


Matt Wolf, a theatre critic at the International Herald Tribune, says it's a very good tuy nhiên to lớn choreograph because of all the syllables.


"There's something about the polysyllabic nature of it that makes you want to lớn move to it. It makes language exciting, it makes words fun.


"This is one of the most hummable of all tunes. Even though it rhymes with 'something quite atrocious', it's called out with so much giddiness & joy that it leaves you feeling good.


"It's rather euphonious. It trips off the tongue. It's a cunningly conceived run-on word."


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