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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 144

to gloss menial occupations with sonorous names; on the contrary, he seems to delight in keeping their menial character plain. He says servants, not help. Even his railways and banks have servants; the chief trades-union of the English railroad men is the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. He uses employé in place of clerk, workman or laborer much less often than we do. True enough he often calls a boarder a paying-guest, but that is probably because even a lady may occasionally take one in. Just as he avoids calling a fast train the limited, the flier or the cannon-ball, so he never calls an undertaker a funeral director or mortician, 39 or a dentist a dental surgeon or odontologist, or a real estate agent a realtor, or a press-agent a publicist, or a barber shop (he always makes it barber’s shop) a tonsorial parlor, or a common public-house a café, a restaurant, an exchange, a buffet or a hotel, or a tradesman a storekeeper or merchant, or a fresh-water college a university. A university, in England, always means a collection of colleges. 40 He avoids displacing terms of a disparaging or disagreeable significance with others less brutal, or thought to be less brutal, e.g., ready-to-wear, ready-tailored, or ready-to-put-on for ready-made, used or slightly-used for second-hand, popular priced for cheap, 41mahoganized for imitation mahogany, aisle manager for floor-walker (he makes it shop-walker), loan-office for pawn-shop. 42 Also he is careful not to use such words as rector, deacon and baccalaureate in merely rhetorical senses. 43 Nor does he call mutton lamb, or milk cream. Nor does he use cuspidor for spittoon, or B. V. D.’s as a euphemism for underwear, or butterine for oleomargarine.
  “Business titles,” says W. L. George, 44 “are given in America