Several words associated with Christianity and British history have been removed from the latest version of a popular children's dictionary in the United Kingdom.
The discovery was made after a concerned parent compared several editions of the Oxford Junior Dictionary, including the most recent 2007 edition.
In the 2007 edition, Oxford University Press editors cut words like "disciple," "bishop," "chapel," "minister" and "monarch." In their place were words like "MP3 player," "blog," "celebrity," "chat room," "endangered" and "biodegradable."
Lisa Saunders, the mother who made the discovery, said she was "horrified" by the number of words removed, most of them since 2003. She had compared editions dating from 1978, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007.
"The Christian faith still has a strong following," she said. "To eradicate so many words associated with Christianity will have a big effect on the numerous primary schools who use it."
The publisher, however, says the revisions were made to reflect the changing times in Britain.
"When you look back at older versions of dictionaries, there were lots of examples of flowers for instance," said Vineeta Gupta, who is in charge of the children's dictionaries. "That was because many children lived in semi-rural environments and saw the seasons. Nowadays, the environment has changed."
"We are also much more multicultural. People don't go to church as often as before...which is why some words such as 'Pentecost' or 'Whitsun' would have been in 20 years ago but not now," he added.
The dictionary is aimed at children ages seven and older. Oxford University Press says the book includes more than 10,000 entries.
Known Words Removed from the 2007 Edition:
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
Known Words Included in the 2007 Edition:
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
Sources: The Telegraph, Christianity Today