alexandra alger

ABC

More Than Dirty

Soiled. Here’s a word I don’t often see in print. It was common enough in mid-twentieth-century classics, in stories where children ran free much of the day–“Look how you’ve soiled your good dress!” a mother or nanny would scold. I can’t think of any examples (I’m such a lazy blogger, already), but I’m definitely right about this. Perhaps it’s a word the English use more. Martin Amis used “soiled” in a reference to post-World-War-II American anti-semitism–this in a recent NYT Book Review piece on Philip Roth–and I was reminded what a pungent, powerful word it can be. Soiled: corrupt, morally filthy.

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