I spotted this letter in thelondonpaper the day before yesterday (click the image for a larger version).
The letter-writer may have been North American, but I suspect this is an example of the creeping ass-isation of British English.
For those who don't know, 'ass' in British English usually refers to the animal, whereas 'arse' (not 'ass') is used to refer to "a person's buttocks or anus" (Concise OED).
Whenever I see the word 'ass', I think first of all of the animal. Which leaves me wondering why everyone in the City is out to protect their own ass. Perhaps they need it to cart their stuff away after they've been made redundant?
(If you can't see the image, the letter reads in part: "At least there are people like you in the City who really care about the welfare of your colleagues. From what I've found, everyone is just out to protect their own ass. ALICIA")
UPDATE 8.10PM: On reflection, I realise that the letter-writer may have chosen 'ass' because it is less offensive in British English than 'arse', and therefore more likely to make it into print. It's even possible that thelondonpaper made the change for the same reason.
3 days ago