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 When he printed Ranulph Higden’s Polycronicon, in
John Trevisa’s translation of 1387, he updated the ‘rude
and old englyssh, that is to wete certayn wordes, which
in these dayes be neither vsyd ne understanden’ [rude
and old English, that is, to wit, certain words
which nowadays are neither used nor
 Caxton associated old usage with a lower social
standing, calling it ‘plain and rude’ and implying that it
was suitable for ‘rude’ men. The opposite is called
‘polished’, ‘ornate’, or ‘curious’.
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