(WYTV) – We know that dictionaries add new words every year and they take out a few here and there — not as many as they put in, though.
So why does a dictionary drop a word? And how?
The English language is evolving and changing all the time, and some words simply become obsolete.
Dictionary editors decide which words make it into the dictionary and which ones are ready for deletion.
But many words marked for deletion from the print editions will remain in online dictionaries.
Here are some examples from the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Gone are:
- Vitamin G: It now goes by its new name — riboflavin.
- Hodad: Comes from the 1960s and basically means someone pretending to be a surfer dude. He doesn’t surf, he just carries the board to look the part.
- Frutescent: An adjective meaning “like a shrub.”
- Sternforemost: A ship moving backward. It’s an old nautical term from the 1800s.
- Snollygoster: From the 19th century. It’s a politician who wins by voter fraud — totally unscrupulous.
These words are just not useful or used anymore.
A 2019 petition with 30,000 signatures called for the Oxford English Dictionary to remove sexist language and definitions. Oxford said, “We’re working on it.”