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Page last updated at 08:50 GMT, Monday, 24 September 2012 09:50 UK

Is the word 'pleb' an insult?

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The Conservative chief whip has admitted he did swear at a police officer but has denied using the word "pleb". But where does the word "pleb" come from, is it really used by posh boys in public schools and why is it considered to be offensive?

Edith Hall, professor of classics at King's College London, says she is convinced Andrew Mitchell did say the word as it is "just not the sort of thing a policeman would invent".

"The police are telling the truth," she told the Today programme.

Author Harry Mount, believes it is an "extremely odd word to use".

He said the word "chav" has now taken over but is "equally very disgusting".


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