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The Smith Blog

SMITH HISTORY BLOG: Quasquicentennial

by Chris Woodworth

The definition and pronunciation of the word 'quasquicentennial.'

The definition and pronunciation of the word ‘quasquicentennial.’

We use the word “centennial” to mark a 100-year anniversary and “bicentennial” to mark a 200-year anniversary. So what’s the word for a 125-year anniversary? “Quasquicentennial!” Interestingly, the word quasquicentennial is itself less than 125 years old. According to Robert L. Chapman in a 1965 article titled “The History of ‘QUASQUICENTENNIAL,’” the word was created in 1961. The small town of Delevan, Illinois was about to mark its 125th anniversary. A man named Frank W. Hatten wrote to Funk & Wagnalls, asking for a Latinate word to mark the occasion. Thus, quasquicentennial was created! (Chapman 53-54).

Logos for 125th celebration

Can YOU say “quasquicentennial?” Turns out, it’s a tough one to pronounce! On Sunday October 20, 2019, the local artists who will create Celebrate The Smith: An Immersive Theatre Event gathered for their first rehearsal. We asked each of them to pronounce this word. Take a look at our video for a sneak peek of the actors, directors, playwrights, and stage managers who will spend this week making theatrical magic for you to enjoy on Saturday October 26, 2019! Join us for a theatrical extravaganza as we mark The Smith Opera House’s own quasquicentennial!

Watch the Smith Opera House “quasquicentennial?” promo video here.


Works Cited

Chapman, Robert L. “The History of ‘Quasquicentennial.’” American Speech, vol. 40, no. 1, 1965, pp. 53–57. JSTOR,