On ill-sorts

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Tiffany Jenkins (Perspective, 21 June) ­laments the way in which words which were totally ­innocent come to be regarded as offensive.

’Twas ever thus. In Shakespeare’s Henry IV a scurvy soldier has been called “captain” and Doll Tearsheet exclaims: “A captain! God’s light, these villains will make the word as odious as the word ‘occupy’; which was an excellent good word before it was ill-sorted.”

S Beck, Edinburgh