Monday, December 15, 2008

They Did WHAT?!?

Once again the folks who decide which words belong in a dictionary and which words don't have me grinding my teeth and shaking my head. This time the culprits did a number on the Oxford University Press' Junior Dictionary.

Why am I giving my dentist more work to do? Because of the words they've axed! Certain groups in the UK are up in arms about many words pertaining to religion and history that are no more--at least in the newest edition of the children's dictionary. Although I'm not overly religious, they have a point. If a child happens to watch the evening news, sees Bishop X talking to a group, and wonders what a bishop is, that child isn't going to learn by picking up a copy of the Oxford Junior Dictionary! The same thing applies to "empire", "monarch" and "chapel".

Here are some more words that were culled and made my voice go up a couple of octaves when I read them aloud:


I won't continue. It's painful. For the most part the words that were cut from the dictionary refer to the natural world. The words that were added refer to computers, the Internet and computer gadgets. We might as well go full steam ahead into global warming because Oxford has put the natural world on the endangered species list!

Read the entire article here if you dare. I've had it bookmarked for four days to see if my sense of disbelief and outrage would subside. As you can see, it didn't work. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!


  1. How in the heck can one delete words from a dictionary? I don't get it. What does this mean? Is Oxford declaring that the words simply don't exist? That we should excise them from our everyday usage?

    I can't lose bacon. I *heart* bacon. Enough to eat an entire package all by myself.

  2. And hamster and goldfish?! what the heck? I can't believe it. I knew that 'they' ADD words to the dictionary, but I didn't know that words were also taken out. Yikes.

  3. So what are we supposed to call all of those things now?

  4. I knew words were added, but I didn't realize until the last few months that words were being taken out. Silly me. UK dictionaries seem to be up front about doing this, but I haven't read anything about US dictionaries doing the same thing. Are American dictionaries just sneakier about it?

  5. Other dictionaries do it too:

    They just seem to take out the much less common words.

  6. Oh, and according to Oxford, no words are ever removed from the Oxford English Dictionary, although they are removed from the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

  7. OOps, forgot the link to that last one:

  8. Guess I need to avoid the Concise!

  9. Is it typical to remove words (that are not obsolete) from "adult" dictionaries?

    Crazy that they removed these from the children's version ... no doubt to make room for more technical terms these days (or perhaps, "ginormous")


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