A reader writes:
Just so you know, according to the OED, the adverb "fair" in the sense of "equitably, honestly, impartially, justly; according to rule" has been around since 1300 and also occurs in Shakespeare, 1603. Wilson's grasp of basic and easily checked linguistic facts leaves something to be desired.
In French, "juste" is perfectly right as an exact translation for "fair." True, "juste" also means "accurate," so you could argue that it's not quite the same word, but then again the French "juste" does not also mean "light in color" and that added meaning doesn't disqualify the English word from fully incorporating the concept of "fair" (as in equitable) as we understand it. (Although it does lend a creepy Aryan-master-race undercurrent to the term.)
It's self-congratulatory Anglocentrism, of course, exactly like the canard about there being no Russian word for freedom.
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