Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?
We all recognize the mantra of Snow White's evil stepmother. But what, exactly, is she asking? In the Grimm Brothers' German original, she asks who's the most beautiful in the land. But in English, it's a little more complicated.
On the one hand, fair is an archaic word for beautiful. But in modern usage, it usually refers to a light complexion – and it's hard to forget that we're talking about a story where the main character's claim to fame is that her skin is extraordinarily pale.