euphemism

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n euphemism an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n euphemism In rhetoric, the use of a mild, delicate, or indirect word or expression in place of a plainer and more accurate one, which by reason of its meaning or its associations or suggestions might be offensive, unpleasant, or embarrassing.
    • n euphemism A word or expression thus substituted: as, to employ a euphemism.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Euphemism ū′fem-izm a figure of rhetoric by which an unpleasant or offensive thing is designated by an indirect and milder term
    • ***

Quotations

  • Quentin Crisp
    Quentin%20Crisp
    “Though intelligence is powerless to modify character, it is a dab hand at finding euphemisms for its weaknesses.”
  • Andrea Dworkin
    Andrea%20Dworkin
    “Women's fashion is a euphemism for fashion created by men for women.”

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. euphēmismoseuphēmoseu, well, phēmēphanaí, to speak.

Usage

In literature:

Euphemism, the choice of words not harsh for harsh ideas, has its uses.
"English: Composition and Literature" by W. F. (William Franklin) Webster
As a matter of fact that term was a far-fetched euphemism.
"When the West Was Young" by Frederick R. Bechdolt
It is interesting that the most frequent euphemism or metaphor for death is sleep.
"Benign Stupors" by August Hoch
The use of the word as an euphemism for "the devil" is later.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 3" by Various
This term was a euphemism to emphasize the transformation of their hitherto immediate into a mediate relation to the Empire.
"The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte" by William Milligan Sloane
A euphemism is with him a falsehood.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 4" by Various
All these words are merely our puny euphemisms for X, the unknown quantity.
"The Scrap Book. Volume 1, No. 2" by Various
Avoid the conventional euphemisms.
"The Style Book of The Detroit News" by The Detroit News
It is the same new Kirman euphemized.
"The Oriental Rug" by William D. Ellwanger
I say that I might have done so, but this is a euphemism.
"The Book of Susan" by Lee Wilson Dodd
***

In news:

These juveniles are arrested by ICE and placed into "removal" (another euphemism) proceedings, meaning that they will almost surely be deported regardless of whether they are temporarily returned to their families.
The "It's Just Politics" Lexicon of Political Euphemism, Evasion , and Parenthetical Honesty.
(MoneyWatch) "Working from home" used to be thought a euphemism for slacking off.
Sam Moore ran a "Gentlemen's Club" (talk about a euphemism) in Richmond, VA.
When I first started Freelancers Union, the term " freelancer " was often seen as a euphemism for unemployed.
Sam Moore ran a " Gentlemen 's Club" (talk about a euphemism) in Richmond, VA.
VideoSam Moore ran a " Gentlemen 's Club" (talk about a euphemism) in Richmond, VA.
It's time to ditch the political euphemisms, and start calling lies, theft and greed by their true name.
Euphemisms have always bugged me.
Euphemisms and the Job Market.
The "It's Just Politics" Lexicon of Political Euphemism, Evasion, and Parenthetical Honesty .
When the going gets tough, the tough make up euphemisms to soften the blow.
When you are a candidate, or a surrogate, the euphemism is your best friend when you just need to call your opponent a liar but do not want the potential backlash from resorting to the word.
But Mars' new single doesn't bother with old-fashioned euphemism.
Recently, I was invited to speak before the local chapter of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers about trends in CPE (customer premises equipment, a euphemism for televisions.
***

In science:

In sociology, the social structure is an analytical tool ; this euphemism indicates that the status of the term social structure is under debate.
Around the gap between sociophysics and sociology
It is a euphemism to write that the accession of the theory of Probability to the rank of a mathematical discipline took a long time.
J. L. Doob (27 February 1910--7 June 2004)
***