August 8, 2021


Used to describe something that might be offensive, taboo, unpleasant or blunt by replacing it with a term that is more evasive, mild, neutral or vague.

Etymology: The word euphemism comes from the Greek word euphemismos, which means euphemos (auspicious), it has two parts, eu-(good) + pheme (speaking).

Examples might include saying a person has “passed” (away) instead of “they died” or saying something is “second-hand” instead of “used.” It is a way to put a nicer spin on something that might be considered too harsh.

In a Sentence

Instead of just admitting that he was fired, John used the euphemism “taking an early retirement” to lighten the news instead.

Annie said that Harold is ‘A little thin a little up top’ instead of that Harold is completely bald.”

A news reporter might use the expression “collateral damage” as opposed to “civilian casualties” while describing a war-torn area. Collateral damage would be a euphemism.


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