Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Banned, Censored, Challenged: The American Heritage Dictionary

In 1976, a group of parents demanded that copies of the American Heritage Dictionary be removed from all Anchorage, Alaska classrooms because of "obscenity". The most trouble centered around the word "bed", which has several definitions including "a place for lovemaking", " a marital relationship with it's rights and intimacies" and "to have sexual intercourse with". (All of these definitions are apt, for example, 'the marriage bed', "bed his bride" etc).

The school board voted to remove it from schools.Words like "shit", "fuck", "piss", "keister", "john", "cunnilingus", "hooker", "deflower", "dyke", "faggot"and many others were also a source of complaint.

In Texas in 1976, one person complained that the publisher of the American Heritage Dictionary was "debasing the English language" by including words that are used in the English language (?).

The book's defenders point out that the words and connotations in question are used in classic literary works, everyday use and even in the Bible. The purpose of the dictionary is to define words. And these are words.

The Assistant Superintendent of schools in Anchorage at the time said that the entries were important because they gave kids a chance to look up the words which would "help to diffuse curiosity and excitement about them."

And I so agree.


Yvette Kelly said...

Did you know the infamous F word is actually an abbreviation of
Fornication Under Command of the King??

Yvette Kelly said...

Me again.I have an award for you on my blog.Your blog as far as I am concerned is beyond creative.Just to let you know

Enep said...


Miss_Nobody said...

Dictionaries are the most sophisticated and the the most convenient way to jus get over your ignorance,why ban a dicitonary?