Every day, the Oxford English Dictionary sends out a word of the day via email, then posts the word, and its definition, on the dictionary's blog. This morning, the word was "bloodbath," which the OED defines as:
n. 1814. A battle or fight at which much blood is spilt; a wholesale slaughter, a massacre.
Given recent headlines, this seemed at best unfortunate, and led to many tweets stating that the choice was in bad taste.
The OED has now taken down the blog entry, issuing an apology via email and on its website, as well as tweeting to people who posted negative reactions on Twitter. Here's the full text of their apology:
OED Word of the Day: An Apology - 18.12.2012
We would like to apologize unreservedly for the publication of bloodbath as the word of the day on 18th December 2012.
The OED word of the day is selected months in advance by an editorial committee, and is distributed automatically each day. The timing of today's word is a coincidence of the worst kind, and we apologize for any distress or upset caused by what might appear to be a highly insensitive choice. What we hope to show with our words of the day is that even seemingly commonplace words can have interesting etymologies; however we have removed today's word from OED Online and are now taking immediate steps to review our scheduling and selection policy.
- The OED team
Read some of the tweets about OED's poor choice of word: