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I'm sure there's a word for this

(14 Posts)
Enb76 Tue 12-Jan-16 10:14:21

What is the word used for something that becomes redundant immediately at the point that it should be useful?

My daughter has a Junior Oxford Dictionary - she's 7. She is now able to use a dictionary correctly but pretty much every word that she looks up such as 'obeisance' is not in there (we're reading Children of the New Forest). Words she genuinely doesn't know or can't make a guess at from context are the ones I tell her to look up in the dictionary - and they're not there. In fact, the only words in there seem to be words a 7 year old would already know the meaning to.

Stealth boast aside - what's the word for something that becomes useless at the point where it is required? I know there is one and it's driving me mad. I have a feeling it may be something we've borrowed from German or similar.

Debbriana1 Tue 12-Jan-16 11:19:34


Debbriana1 Tue 12-Jan-16 11:22:00

Would you like to give a sentence of how you would have used it?

Poledra Tue 12-Jan-16 11:22:45

Obsolete? Not quite what you're looking for, I feel!

We have the same problem with dictionaries - our DCs now all use our great big one as they can be sure to find the word they want there.

Seeline Tue 12-Jan-16 11:41:39

My DD had a small electronic one built into a bookmark specifically for when she was reading. She was a good reader - well above her age, but found that some of the vocab she didn't understand. Rather than break off the reading to search through a huge dictionary (as with yours, no useful words in the child version!!), she could type it into the device for the meaning. If she still didn't get it she would come and find me for further explanation. It worked very well. She still used a proper dictionary for checking school work etc.

Seeline Tue 12-Jan-16 11:42:55

Oh - in response to your main question - superfluous?

ShowOfHands Tue 12-Jan-16 11:45:20

8yo DD just uses a normal dictionary. She had a junior dictionary as a gift when starting school and it became redundant before she even finished a term.

suzannecaravaggio Tue 12-Jan-16 11:46:15

Built in obsolescence?

PigletJohn Tue 12-Jan-16 11:48:04

like an Overdraft facility?

Enb76 Tue 12-Jan-16 11:53:58

I think something more along the lines of otiose. It's been bugging me for ages. There is a really specific word though.


Debbriana1 Tue 12-Jan-16 13:59:01

Found it otiose

wickedlazy Tue 12-Jan-16 14:11:47

If she's reading at a higher level, get her an adult dictionary. My dad got me an old new imperial reference dictionary, with side indents on each letter, so really easy to use. Although I just google now. Could have told you what obeisance meant, but only from reading game of thrones and having to look it up myself.

wickedlazy Tue 12-Jan-16 14:13:33

I think ironic could also cover your situation smile

Enb76 Wed 13-Jan-16 10:26:12

Certainly in this case, wickedlazy.

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