Nation: Words for the Poor

Every Administration speaks its own language, and coins its distinctive euphemisms, dysphemisms—what can be generously called its literary style.

"The poor" seems such a poignantly simple Anglo-Saxon expression. Yet previous Democratic Administrations, abetted by sociologists, made them "the disadvantaged" or "the culturally deprived." Now a memorandum in the Office of Economic Opportunity (a title that is another Thalidomide child of the language) has dictated that "the poor" shall be referred to, for precision's sake, as "lowincome individuals." As in "For ye have the low-income individuals always with you."

...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!