What is Euphemism? - www.wordscoach.com

What Is Euphemism? – Meaning and Definition

What Is Euphemism?

A euphemism is a mild or indirect word or expression used in place of one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. Euphemisms are used to avoid directly addressing sensitive or taboo topics, and to make them more palatable or socially acceptable. They can be used to soften the blow of bad news or to make something less offensive.

For example, instead of saying “I was fired,” someone might say “I was let go” as a euphemism.

Another example would be “passed away” instead of “died”.

Euphemisms can be found in all types of language, including everyday conversation, official statements, and advertising. They are used to create a more positive or polite image or to create a sense of political correctness.

It’s important to note that euphemisms can be used to hide the truth or to avoid responsibility. It can also be used to mislead or manipulate people.

Examples of Euphemism

Here are a few examples of euphemisms:

  • I was let go. (instead of “I was fired”)
  • He passed away. (instead of “He died”)
  • She’s a little heavy. (instead of “She’s overweight”)
  • He’s between jobs. (instead of “He’s unemployed”)
  • We had a downsizing. (instead of “We laid off employees”)
  • He’s resting. (instead of “He’s dead”)
  • She’s in a better place. (instead of “She’s dead”)
  • He’s challenged. (instead of “He’s disabled”)
  • He’s on vacation. (instead of “He’s been fired”)
  • Let’s just agree to disagree. (instead of “I don’t want to argue with you”)
  • She’s a senior citizen. (instead of “She’s old”)
  • He’s been reassigned. (instead of “He’s been demoted”)
  • I’m just passing through. (instead of “I’m homeless”)
  • I’m not available. (instead of “I don’t want to talk to you”)
  • He’s retired. (instead of “He’s been fired”)
  • She’s with child. (instead of “She’s pregnant”)
  • He’s under new management. (instead of “He’s been fired”)
  • It’s a personnel issue. (instead of “It’s a problem with an employee”)
  • She’s a little bit pregnant. (instead of “She’s pregnant”)
  • He’s taking a leave of absence. (instead of “He’s been fired”)

List of Most Commonly Used Euphemisms for Everyday Communication

Euphemism MeaningEuphemism Meaning
On the streetsHomelessBetween jobsUnemployed
Bun in the ovenPregnantNegative cash flowHaving debts
Golden yearsOld ageDifferently-abledNot possessing normal physical, mental and psychological abilities
Let one goTo fire someoneBig-bonedFat or large
Pre-ownedUsed by someone elseLay offTo fire someone
Hearing-impairedUsed to refer to someone who is completely or partially deafSpeech-impairedUsed to refer to someone who has speech-related issues
Telling storiesRefers to the act of lyingTell talesRefers to the act of gossiping or speaking about another person’s actions.
Lose your lunchVomitPass awayTo die
Collateral damageRefers to the damage done as a result of war, including deaths and injuriesNot the sharpest pencil in the boxRefer to the quality of being stupid
Lost one’s marblesTo refer to someone who is diagnosed/suffering from mental illnessPhysically challengedUsed to refer to someone who is handicapped
Mentally challengedUsed to refer to someone who is partially or completely mentally abnormalOver the hillUsed to refer to someone who is old
Armed intervention Refers to a military attackLost someoneUsed to refer to someone’s death
Put to sleepEuthanise/Refers to the act of mercy killingA bit under the weatherUsed to imply that someone is sick
Couch potatoUsed to refer to someone who is lazyLate bloomerUsed to refer to someone who takes time to understand and learn
Running a little behindTo refer to being lateOutspokenUsed to refer to someone who is bossy and controlling
OverzealousTo refer to someone who is aggressiveDonning the fedoraStepping out of one’s comfort zone as far as fashion is concerned
Adult beveragesUsed to refer to liquorUnderprivilegedTo refer to people who are poor
High-rollingUsed to refer to someone who spends money lavishly and thoughtlessly / a spendthriftDown-and-outUsed to refer to a person who is completely out of money, has no job or a place to stay
A little thin on topUsed to refer to someone who is bald or going baldTo be in the bread linesUsed to refer to people who are so poor that they have to depend on food donations to survive
Whips and junglesRefers to nervousness and depressionA bit down in the dumpsUsed to refer to the state of being unhappy or depressed
To get off the deep endUsed to refer to an emotional outburst, mostly due to anger, resulting in extremely strange behaviourBlow a fuseUsed to refer to the action of losing one’s temper
To blow a gasketTo become very angryVisually impairedUsed to refer to someone who is partially or completely blind
What is Euphemism? - www.wordscoach.com

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