Oxford English Dictionary editor intentionally deleted thousands of words in the ’70s and ’80s

dictionary (UWGB Cofrin Library Flickr)

In the 128 years since the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published, one of its greatest guiding principles has been that no word should ever be removed, explaining why the complete dictionary spans twenty volumes and weighs over 140 pounds. Its editors believe that someone today picking up a book from the 1920s should still be able to look up obscure terms even if they’re no longer in common usage. Well, The Guardian reports that a single contrarian editor named Robert Burchfield (the same guy that added swearwords) single-handedly removed words by the thousands throughout the 1970s and ’80s — a claim laid out in a new book called Words of the World by former OED editor Sarah Ogilvie.

Ogilvie found that…

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