The Term "Cassette Tape" Is No Longer in the Oxford English Dictionary

Categories: Tech

What are these called again?
​Alright, for those of you who didn't take the hint when the automakers dropped all cassette players from every car sold in this country, here's the final nail in the dead-tape coffin: "cassette tape" is no longer included in the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

However, "cyberbullying" and "retweet," as USA Today so cheerfully points out, are now in the dictionary.

So why did the cassette get dropped? It was "so past its prime that it was not worth keeping it in," dictionary editor-at-large Jesse Sheidlower told the paper.

Apparently the OED folks didn't catch that there's something of a tape renassiance going on in the indie world. This writer has received at least five cassette promo tapes in the last year (which, if you ask us, is five too many). Tape sales, though miniscule, are even up from last year.

So even given our longstanding hatred for the cassette tape, this strikes us as a rather hasty move. The phrase will still appear in the unabriged OED -- the edition that nobody owns. But how can we warn a future generation against the horrors of metallic sound, unspooled ribbons of tape, and the crushed hopes that result when tapes wear out if we can't even show them what it was?

Also: CDs, you're officially on notice. Enjoy your time in car dashboards and major dictionaries while you still have it.

[Digital Music News]

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Bruce Tanner
Bruce Tanner

I have read the writing of the English Oxford Dictionary with great understanding.  I also learn daily of the evolution 1:a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state: GROWTH and expansion of a manner of communication utilized between human beings.  My personal point of reference in explanation of my perspective lies in the word worse in definition.  Worse for whom?


i've bought six or seen new tapes this year.

Rambunctious Explorer
Rambunctious Explorer

Have they added "alright" instead of the correct "all right?"  And perhaps, "rennassiance" or "unabriged?"" Obviously words are not your specialty, nor are details.

Good reporting would include facts about which (of several if not hundreds) of different versions of the Oxford Dictionaries.

You need to go back to Journalism 101.

You need to learn to back up your statements before you write!


Dude, it's still in the OED. They do not erase entries. It's out of the concise OED, which is a usage dictionary more like the Merriam-Websters Americans are familiar with. A bit silly to remove it so soon, in my opinion, but let's get the facts straight.


This smells hoaxy. Have they also removed the words "telegraph" and "morse code" and "cuneiform?" The OED isn't the urban dictionary.

Sam G
Sam G

That is so beyond the pale stupid.  How short sighted ARE these people?!  Cassette tapes STILL EXIST.  They STILL WORK.  3rd World countries will be using them for decades. 

"Past their prime"?  Um, say hello to thousands of technologies that are 'past their prime' but people still know what they are.  This dumbing down of a generation seems like a criminal conspiracy, otherwise I just can't find the reasoning. 

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