Kids' Dictionary Contains Shocking Definitions (PHOTOS)​​​

Jeanne Sager | May 20, 2014 Big Kid

Golden DictionaryIt really goes without saying that books are good for kids. Every study on literacy and learning since the beginning of time has told us that the more books you give kids when they are little, the better off they will be, right? But a word to the wise -- you might want to check the copyright date on that children's book before you hand it over. 

Because as the times change, so does what parents find acceptable to show their kids. Don't believe us? We unearthed a vintage children's dictionary, first printed in 1944, that's chock full of sexism, racism, and plenty more "isms" that will make your skin crawl!

The Golden Dictionary boasts 1,030 words and more than 1,500 pictures (in color, no less!). Written by an Ellen Wales Walpole and illustrated by "Miss Elliott," it was on its 35th printing in 1969, which is when kids were still being taught that girls are stuck in dresses and some rather backward terminology. It's a nice little reminder that just because something was once made for kids doesn't mean it's really kid-friendly.

So, get ready for your time warp, because we're about to dive in ...

Would you stock this dictionary on your child's shelf? Even with #18?


Image by Jeanne Sager

  • Unsafe Crib!


    Notice that little baby in the crib in the upper left? He's got blankets and toys in there with him! Not to mention there are huge spaces between the slats -- plenty of space for baby to get his head caught.

    Also interesting about this page? Every single girl is wearing a dress ... and of course there's a girl sewing. Of course.

  • Animal Cruelty?


    In the '60s, kids weren't supposed to poke sticks at lions lest they get angry. Then someone realized poking sticks at zoo animals was just plain cruel.

  • Looking for a Few Good Men?


    This is one of a number of military references we found in the book, and one we highly doubt we'd see today. Somebody would surely be horrified by the "violent" thoughts kids would develop from seeing an actual military tank in their dictionary.

  • A Little Religious Indoctrination?


    Not just a Bible reference, but Sunday school too!

  • That's One Way to Make a Family


    Technically, this entry for "brother" is correct, but it leaves little room for the many ways that a modern family is created.


  • It's Not Just December 25th Anymore


    How non-secular can you get? Well, when you not only list Christmas as one of 1,030 must-know words for kids, and you define it as Jesus Christ's birthday. Sorry, Santa.

  • A Little Patriarchy With Your Pictures


    Daddy is the driver ... because Mommy is too busy in the kitchen to learn how to get her license?

  • Step Inside, Step Inside


    Of all the places they could have them "enter," church was the best thing they could come up with?

  • What Makes a Family?


    A way to smack down single parents and the child-free in just one dictionary entry!

  • War -- What Is It Good For?


    Another military reference ... complete with photo of a gun! Imagine what would happen to a kid today if they drew that in school? SCANDALOUS!

  • Dads, They're Just That Good


    Sorry, Mom, but you don't get a say ...

  • Our Father, Who Art ...


    In case you're wondering who the big man upstairs is ...

  • I'm Happy ...


    When are we happy? At Christmas, of course! Unless you don't get presents on Christmas because you don't celebrate that holiday like a whole lot of people in America? Whoops.

  • Girls in the Kitchen


    Ann helps Mom with the dishes. Not Bobby or Tommy or Jimmy.

    Got that?

  • Native Americans, Thank You Very Much


    Indians do not live in America. They live in India. Weren't they using Native Americans by the '60s?

    And how about that caricature?

  • Sew Crazy


    Because she can't "learn" to read or write or how to build something ...

  • What Do You Call Your Baby?


    Some words are better left in the past.

  • Folds Those Hands, Kids


    The "we" is a tad bit presumptuous, don't you think?

  • I Know What Boys Wear


    Because if girls wear them, the whole world will blow up!

    (Side note: there is another entry that notes that women and girls wear dresses because, of course ...)

  • Somebody's Smoking


    After the kerfuffle over Cookie Monster's pipe on back episodes of Sesame Street, it's safe to say this entry would never see the light of day in 2014.

  • And the Dress Goes To ...


    Poor John will wear out his trousers, but Betty never has to worry about that in those dainty dresses.

  • Mom's Stuck at Home


    Father works in the city, but he won't let Mom out of the house.

  • Christmas ... Again


    In case you aren't getting the sense that they're really pushing Christianity ...

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