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Lost for words?

It was recently announced that certain words have been dropped from a leading dictionary for children. Dictionaries, where would we be without them? They are the source of our knowledge of words, and without words we would have no language. So, why are we losing words?

The publishers claim that the changes have been made to reflect the fact that Britain is a ‘modern, multicultural, multifaith society’ And what is to replace these words? Inevitably it has been decided that the words removed are being replaced with more contemporary and used and understood on a daily basis; words like ‘blog’, ‘mp3’ and ‘voicemail’. Perhaps the most important point to make is that we don’t loose words even if a dictionary decides not to include them. The words are still with us; in fact as the words in question are associated with Christianity, the monarchy, British history and the countryside, it is obvious that many will continue to use them.

I’m sure we all regret changes like these, but to the average student of English it is doubtful if they will mourn their passing when new and more exciting and useful words are constantly being added to our language. That’s how the English language keeps developing!

What words would you remove and what words would you add? Let us know

Words taken out:
Carol, cracker, holly, ivy, mistletoe, Dwarf, elf, goblin
Abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, chapel, christen, disciple, minister, monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, parish, pew, psalm, pulpit, saint, sin, devil, vicar
Coronation, duchess, duke, emperor, empire, monarch, decade
adder, ass, beaver, boar, budgerigar, bullock, cheetah, colt, corgi, cygnet, doe, drake, ferret, gerbil, goldfish, guinea pig, hamster, heron, herring, kingfisher, lark, leopard, lobster, magpie, minnow, mussel, newt, otter, ox, oyster, panther, pelican, piglet, plaice, poodle, porcupine, porpoise, raven, spaniel, starling, stoat, stork, terrapin, thrush, weasel, wren.
Acorn, allotment, almond, apricot, ash, bacon, beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, bran, bray, bridle, brook, buttercup, canary, canter, carnation, catkin, cauliflower, chestnut, clover, conker, county, cowslip, crocus, dandelion, diesel, fern, fungus, gooseberry, gorse, hazel, hazelnut, heather, holly, horse chestnut, ivy, lavender, leek, liquorice, manger, marzipan, melon, minnow, mint, nectar, nectarine, oats, pansy, parsnip, pasture, poppy, porridge, poultry, primrose, prune, radish, rhubarb, sheaf, spinach, sycamore, tulip, turnip, vine, violet, walnut, willow

Words put in:
Blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, attachment, database, export, chatroom, bullet point, cut and paste, analogue
Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, citizenship, childhood, conflict, common sense, debate, EU, drought, brainy, boisterous, cautionary tale, bilingual, bungee jumping, committee, compulsory, cope, democratic, allergic, biodegradable, emotion, dyslexic, donate, endangered, Euro
Apparatus, food chain, incisor, square number, trapezium, alliteration, colloquial, idiom, curriculum, classify, chronological, block graph

Comment On This Post


Lets make sure we don’t loose ‘bellicose’ - very topical, and useful, given the state of the republican party at the moment!

By Dun4x on 2009 02 11

i like nincompoop!

By chump on 2009 02 12

What about ‘linger’?
Remember the Cranberries?
‘Do you have to let it linger? Do you have to, do you have to,
Do you have to let it linger?’

By doorlorez on 2009 02 12

Glad to see ‘blog’ has been put in!

By lfw on 2009 02 12


By faz on 2009 02 12

I’d vote for slathered
Look it up…

By sabes on 2009 02 13

Now these are really useful words - discombobulate, slathered, bellicose….

By arr10w on 2009 02 14

paraskavedekatriaphobia - if you can say it!
What is it? Its fear ofFriday the 13th
Phew! Its over…

By freddixiii on 2009 02 14

Go to: http://www.myfavoriteword.com/
for some great words too!
How about:
go there to find out what they mean if you don’t know already!

By oxford on 2009 02 14

With a new word being added to the English language every 98 minutes we’re evidently approaching our millionth in around April.
Any suggestions for a possible inclusion?

By c0unter2u on 2009 02 14

When ideas fail, words come in very handy
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Seems like they do!

By family101 on 2009 02 16


By surf on 2009 02 18

maybe hullabaloo and poppycock
Dictionary for youngsters perplexed by ‘gran slang’

By ibook on 2009 02 20

some Scottish (not Scotch, please!) words:
radge - a wild, crazy, or violent person.
bahookie - a person’s buttocks

By michelle on 2009 02 20

‘ponzi’ next ‘madoff’ and now ‘stanford’
new definitions of fraud

By fester00 on 2009 02 20

speaking of which, i’d add “bank” and “brown”!

By chump on 2009 02 21

willy-nilly = impotent
balderdash = a rapidly receding hairline
Thanks David Brown for these!

By Hugger on 2009 02 21

it gets worse…
Babygloomer - someone who is having to support both their children and their parents

By webXX on 2009 02 21

Balderdash & Piffle!

By brows1t on 2009 02 22

On this Oscar night, the word has to be ‘slumdog’ !!

By Nigel Haines on 2009 02 23

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Omar, Pakistan

Omar, Pakistan

The feedback I get for my writing is very good and makes me more confident about the IELTS exam.

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