"pleb", the new four-letter word

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Oct 21 01:23:16 UTC 2012

 From the NYTimes on-line, yesterday (today in print, I think):

>UK Govt Minister Quits Over Clash With Police
>LONDON (AP) ­ A key member of Prime Minister
>David Cameron's government quit Friday amid a
>simmering dispute over an incident last month in
>which he was accused of abusing police officers
>with foul language and derogatory remarks about working class people.
>In an official record of the confrontation on
>Sept. 19, a police officer insisted Mitchell had
>sworn and used the words "moron" and "pleb" ­ a
>pejorative term for the working class. Mitchell
>acknowledged he had sworn, but bitterly denied using the other words.
>Pleb ­ short for plebeian ­ comes from the Latin
>plebeius, the mass of ordinary citizens apart
>from the elite of upper-class patricians.

Since Mitchell admitted to swearing but "bitterly
denied" that he had used "the other words", I
conclude that "pleb" must be the less acceptable
in the polite company of police officers.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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