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euphemism

[yoo-fuh-miz-uh m] /ˈyu fəˌmɪz əm/
noun
1.
the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.
2.
the expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”.
Origin
1650-1660
1650-60; < Greek euphēmismós the use of words of good omen, equivalent to eu- eu- + phḗm(ē) speaking, fame + -ismos -ism
Related forms
euphemist, noun
euphemistic, euphemistical, euphemious
[yoo-fee-mee-uh s] /yuˈfi mi əs/ (Show IPA),
adjective
euphemistically, euphemiously, adverb
uneuphemistic, adjective
uneuphemistical, adjective
uneuphemistically, adverb
Can be confused
euphemism, euphuism.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for euphemism
  • That sounds like a euphemism for something, although I'm not sure what.
  • It sounds to me like it could be a euphemism for damaged .
  • Australian euphemisms deserve to be investigated.
  • Risk management became a euphemism for continued justification of unsound practices.
  • At first I thought this was a clever euphemism for declaring bankruptcy.
  • The euphemism now lies buried beneath the rubble of reality.
  • Nothing fails so miserably as a failed euphemism-though there have been plenty of successes.
  • There was just euphemism after euphemism in that last paragraph.
  • Sometimes jocular or ironic, this use is also a rather poignant euphemism for puzzled elders.
  • Patrimonial capitalism's legacy is that many people see reform as a euphemism for corruption and self-dealing.
British Dictionary definitions for euphemism

euphemism

/ˈjuːfɪˌmɪzəm/
noun
1.
an inoffensive word or phrase substituted for one considered offensive or hurtful, esp one concerned with religion, sex, death, or excreta. Examples of euphemisms are sleep with for have sexual intercourse with; departed for dead; relieve oneself for urinate
2.
the use of such inoffensive words or phrases
Derived Forms
euphemistic, adjective
euphemistically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Greek euphēmismos, from eu- + phēmē speech
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for euphemism
euphemism
1650s, from Gk. euphemismos "use of a favorable word in place of an inauspicious one," from euphemizein "speak with fair words," from eu- "good" + pheme "speaking," from phanai "speak" (see fame). In ancient Greece, the superstitious avoidance of words of ill-omen during religious ceremonies, or substitutions such as Eumenides "the Gracious Ones" for the Furies (see also Euxine). In Eng., a rhetorical term at first; broader sense of "choosing a less distasteful word or phrase than the one meant" is first attested 1793. Related: Euphemistic; euphemistically.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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euphemism in Culture
euphemism [(yooh-fuh-miz-uhm)]

An agreeable word or expression substituted for one that is potentially offensive, often having to do with bodily functions, sex, or death; for example, rest room for toilet, lady of the evening for prostitute. The Nazis used euphemism in referring to their plan to murder the world's Jews as “the Final Solution.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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