What do a.m. and p.m. stand for?


[dis-fuh-miz-uh m] /ˈdɪs fəˌmɪz əm/
the substitution of a harsh, disparaging, or unpleasant expression for a more neutral one.
an expression so substituted.
Origin of dysphemism
1880-85; dys- + (eu)phemism
Related forms
dysphemistic, adjective
euphemism. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dysphemism
  • Now the honest word secondhand is relegated to the ash heap of dysphemism, shivering in its preowned fur.
  • The plaintiff's activities in organizing other inmates and manipulating them clearly justified this dysphemism.
British Dictionary definitions for dysphemism


substitution of a derogatory or offensive word or phrase for an innocuous one
the word or phrase so substituted
Derived Forms
dysphemistic, adjective
Word Origin
C19: dys- + euphemism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for dysphemism

1884, "substitution of a vulgar or derogatory word or expression for a dignified or normal one," from Greek dys- "bad, abnormal, difficult" (see dys-) + pheme "speaking," from phanai "speak" (see fame (n.); Greek dysphemia meant "ill language, words of ill omen"). The opposite of euphemism. Rediscovered 1933 from French formation dysphémisme (1927, Carnoy).

The French psychologist Albert J. Carnoy gave an extensive definition in his study Le Science du Mot, which in translation runs: "Dysphemism is unpitying, brutal, mocking. It is also a reaction against pedantry, rigidity and pretentiousness, but also against nobility and dignity in language" (1927, xxii, 351). [Geoffrey L. Hughes, "An Encyclopedia of Swearing," 2006]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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