How some words don’t stand the test of time

This article by Merrill Perlman originally appeared in Columbia Journalism Review

“As language and society evolve, words that were once considered merely slang sometimes take on an offensive odor,” we wrote more than seven years ago. We were referring then to the kinds of ethnic and racial terms that may have always been offensive but made their way into common language, like “squaw” and “paddy wagon.” Only later were their offensive natures broadly acknowledged.

 

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