Authors Rage at Oxford Dictionary for Modernising Kids' Edition

By Gary Cutlack on at

Around 50 boring old words to do with trees and nature and stuff have been chopped from the latest Junior Edition of the Oxford Dictionary, with the resulting modern mess binning "catkin" to make way for "cut and paste" and losing "clover" so there's room for "broadband".

A group of 28 authors has sent a letter to the OED complaining about the changes in this new edition, with the writers focusing on the loss of nature words and their replacement by tech terms in particular, saying: "...it is worrying that in contrast to those taken out, many are associated with the interior, solitary childhoods of today. In light of what is known about the benefits of natural play and connection to nature; and the dangers of their lack, we think the choice of words to be omitted shocking and poorly considered."

The writers ask for these words to be restored in a future version, requesting that: "...a deliberate and publicised decision to restore some of the most important nature words would be a tremendous cultural signal and message of support for natural childhood."

Former poet laureate Andrew Motion was particularly brutal in his complaint, writing: "Their defence – that lots of children have no experience of the countryside – is ridiculous. Dictionaries exist to extend our knowledge, as much (or more) as they do to confirm what we already know or half-know."

Which is only half true, as we believe most dictionaries in the UK are only used once a year to desperately use up the Q and Z during the annual inter-generational Christmas Scrabble contest. [Guardian]

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