This story's been all over the Interwebs this morning, and rightly so. Oxford University Press has recently released their newest edition of the Junior Dictionary, with many words relating to Christianity and British history scrubbed out and replaced by such linguistic gems as voicemail, biodegradable, and compulsory. (Then again, that last word will probably be increasingly relevant with every passing year). This is a travesty, of course, but sadly unsurprising. What does surprise and deeply sadden me are the number of words for animals, birds and flowers that OUP has decreed irrelevant to today's youth. I'm with Ross Douthat that this is "just as disquieting as the disappearance of words like minister, monastery, monk, and nun." They've traded in duchess, starling, bramble, marzipan, porridge, nunnery, rhubarb, and liquorice (haphazardly choosing some charming words) for celebrity, vandalism, cut and paste, endangered, block graph, and bungee jumping. And I know they'd just lecture me how the language is evolving and one mustn't be hidebound, but if this is a sign of the future of English, it's an ugly future indeed.