Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

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

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 8:54 AM

click to enlarge What are these called again?
  • 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]


Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Ian S. Port @iPORT, and like us at

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

About The Author

Ian S. Port


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Trixxie Carr Presents: Maneater at Oasis
    January 14, 2015 was the first night of Trixxie Carr Presents: Maneater at Oasis in San Francisco. Photos by Calibree Photography.
  • No Pants BART Ride 2015 - NSFW
    The No Pants BART Ride commenced on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Participants rode without pants, and at the end of the ride they disembarked at The Mission to bar hop, eat burritos and take selfies. Photos by Richard Haick.