Petition: Nature related words should be reinstated in the Junior Oxford English Dictionary.

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Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 8, 2005


Jan 6, 2017
Here There & Everywhere
Here's the thing.
I am in full agreement that those words are wonderful, evocative, and important.

However, I do not recall EVER looking up such words as a child.
I learnt them because my parents took me outside and they showed me buttercups, they blew the dandelion seeds, they pointed out the bluebells.

Kids don't need them in a dictionary. Not if they aren't going to spend any time looking them up.
The words still exist.
The items still exist.
The problem is not with a dictionary (which is only reflecting tastes, not setting them). The problem is that not enough children and families spend time interacting with the world.
That's where you should be channelling your indignation.
Children don't need a dictionary to learn those words.


Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
Words are words.

Without the object, the word is not needful.

If you have the object...THEN you find the word for it.

Such as the bridges here. They have a culvert for summer and the water goes over the top as a ford during high runoff. I have described them, but I didnt know what they are called.

(They are Irish Bridges. But I found that out quite by accident)


Jan 21, 2005
S. Lanarkshire
Frankly I find it horrifying that dictionaries are so limited.
I find it appalling that huge numbers of people can't write a legible letter.

I have to accept that the world moves along, and it's doing so faster than it has ever done before, but without the hard black and white copy all data is permeable, changeable, without any real permanence.

British Blades is a very simple example.
All that information, all those conversations, all the history of social interaction, hours of lives, just gone. It only remains in human memory and a few quotes elsewhere that are themselves just as ephemeral. Even if a back up copy remains it's utterly corrupted because it's missing the photos after the photo bucket purge.

We'll be back to the days of scribes, and most folks with thumbprint signatures before long :rolleyes:

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Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 8, 2005
Oxford Press have responded... seems less drastic than initially seemed... but still

A spokesperson for Oxford University Press said:

‘Nature words are alive and well in our dictionaries – they are not lost. Our 17 children’s dictionaries contain thousands of nature words. The Junior Dictionary is a slim starter dictionary that contains fewer words than the majority of our other children’s dictionaries, but still devotes hundreds of words to the natural world. Our dictionaries are developed through a rigorous research programme, analysing how children are currently using language. They also reflect the language that children are encouraged to use in the classroom, as required by the national curriculum. This ensures they remain relevant and beneficial for children’s education. A selection of nature words that appear in the Oxford Junior Dictionary: badger, bean, bee, berry, blackbird, branch, daisy, daffodil, dragonfly, duck, eagle, field, fox, grasshopper, hay, hedge, hedgehog, hibernate, meadow, moss, mouse, nettle, nut, oak, owl, pear, plum, reeds, robin, seed, shell, sheep, snowflake, squirrel, stag, stone, straw, sunflower, wool’

ENDS More information about how OUP selects words for its children’s dictionaries can be found in this blog


Feb 10, 2016
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
The younger generation might be losing words and skills, but they are gaining other words and skills we older gen do not have.
You learn the words you need to communicate.
How many inner city people see a bumble bee? Gnat?

Evolution, my friends, evolution. Been going on since Humankind started.

I own three different Encyclopedias. Brittanica, a Swedish one ( National Encyklopedin) and a vintage German one (Brockhaus) . Not opened one page now for about 20 years. I look on the Internet instead. Get more info, and quicker.

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