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Euphemism   Listen
noun
Euphemism  n.  (Rhet.) A figure in which a harsh or indelicate word or expression is softened; a way of describing an offensive thing by an inoffensive expression; a mild name for something disagreeable.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Euphemism" Quotes from Famous Books



... military men advocate the use of skirmishers in large bodies, as being dictated by certain necessities of war. Ask them to elucidate this mode of action, and you will see that this talk of skirmishers in large bodies is nothing else but an euphemism for absolute disorder. An attempt has been made to fit the theory to the fact. Yet the use of skirmishers in large bodies is absurd with Frenchmen under fire, when the terrain and the sharpness of the action cause ...
— Battle Studies • Colonel Charles-Jean-Jacques-Joseph Ardant du Picq

... "Blooming" is a euphemism. The adjective Hawkins actually used was, as a matter of fact, closely associated with the exercise of the reproductive functions, and cannot be ...
— Leaves from a Field Note-Book • J. H. Morgan

... threaten it now. The war with Spain is the worst of these. No war finishes without far- reaching results, and the conscience of a country, like the conscience of a man, may be too severely tried. If we whip Spain—the 'if,' of course, is a euphemism—we not only shall be tempted to do things that are unconstitutional, but we are more than liable to make a laughing- stock of the Monroe doctrine. For reasons I am not going into this beautiful summer morning, ...
— Senator North • Gertrude Atherton

... [FN307] The euphemism has before been noticed: the Moslem reader would not like to pronounce the words "I am a Nazarene." The same formula occurs a little lower down to save the reciter or reader from saying "Be my ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 4 • Richard F. Burton

... Government; so now during the war we find them striving to "conciliate" the two contending parties. In both cases their aim was the same—to prevent the destruction of the Republics and the consequent ruin of the nationalist cause. As in the former case "mediation" was a euphemism for the diplomatic defeat of the British Government, so now "conciliation" is synonymous with the restoration of the independence of the Boers—that is, the renunciation of all that the British people, whether ...
— Lord Milner's Work in South Africa - From its Commencement in 1897 to the Peace of Vereeniging in 1902 • W. Basil Worsfold

... crooks for its lowest key, is eight feet long; the tuba, sixteen. In most orchestras (in all of those in the United States, in fact, except the Boston and Chicago Orchestras and the Symphony Society of New York) the word trumpet is merely a euphemism for cornet, the familiar leading instrument of the brass band, which, while it falls short of the trumpet in the quality of its tone, in the upper registers especially, is a more easily manipulated instrument than the trumpet, and is ...
— How to Listen to Music, 7th ed. - Hints and Suggestions to Untaught Lovers of the Art • Henry Edward Krehbiel

... Spit. The former word is frequently used, even in laws and ordinances, as a euphemism for the latter. It not only means something entirely different, but to one with a Latin ear ...
— Write It Right - A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults • Ambrose Bierce

... a "table" has been closed very suddenly, when its owner absconded, or collapsed in bankruptcy, and the unlucky depositors and creditors have been left penniless, during the "rearrangement of the tables," as the euphemism goes. ...
— A Day In Old Athens • William Stearns Davis

... anniversary of their Savior's birth; after which I presume he returned to the bosom of his family, and celebrated the birth of Christ with liberal doses of turkey, goose, beef, pudding, and communion wine. Before dismissing us with his blessing to our "little rooms," which was his habitual euphemism for our cells, he said that he could not wish us a happy Christmas in our unhappy condition, but would wish us a peaceful Christmas; and he ventured to promise us that boon, if after leaving chapel, we fell on our ...
— Flowers of Freethought - (First Series) • George W. Foote

... It is only an euphemism that the verb "discuss" can be used to express the way in which the duet between the president and secretary was being performed. As a matter of fact they were in full wrangle with an energy born of their ...
— Rubur the Conqueror • Jules Verne

... pump room, spa, watering place; inn; hostel, hostelry; hotel, tavern, caravansary, dak bungalow[obs3], khan, hospice; public house, pub, pot house, mug house; gin mill, gin palace; bar, bar room; barrel house* [U.S.], cabaret, chophouse; club, clubhouse; cookshop[obs3], dive [U.S.], exchange [euphemism, U.S.]; grill room, saloon [U.S.], shebeen[obs3]; coffee house, eating house; canteen, restaurant, buffet, cafe, estaminet[obs3], posada[obs3]; almshouse[obs3], poorhouse, townhouse [U.S.]. garden, ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... of interpretation, Mr. Hartland is mainly concerned with the traces of primitive thought and custom to be seen in the Swan Maidens. Originally these were, according to him, probably regarded as actual swans, the feathery robe being a later symbolic euphemism, though I would incidentally remark that the whole of the story as a story depends upon the seizure of a separate dress involving the capture of the swan bride. Mr. Hartland is inclined to believe partly with F. Liebrecht in Zur Volkskunde, ...
— Europa's Fairy Book • Joseph Jacobs

... up a silent prayer that her uncle and her niece might be detained at the village for the rest of the afternoon. By her niece he took her to mean Emilia: he liked her for the kindly euphemism. "What hair she has!" he thought, admiring the loose brown masses, warm upon their background ...
— The Cardinal's Snuff-Box • Henry Harland

... hawthorn (German Hagedorn), with which men are stung into eternal sleep, or rather into a death-like trance. Odin stings Brynhild into her trance with a sleeping-thorn. Hagen, in the sense of death, still lingers in the German expression, "Friend Hain," as a euphemism for the figure which announces that one's hour has come. The hawthorn was the special wood used for fire-burial in Germany; hence the figurative poetical expression which would make ...
— Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 5 of 8 • Various

... EUPHEMISM, is in speech or writing the avoiding of an unpleasant or indelicate word or expression by the use of one which is less direct, and which calls up a less disagreeable image in the mind. Thus for "he died" is ...
— The Nuttall Encyclopaedia - Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge • Edited by Rev. James Wood

... "hair of the feet" we have an interesting equivalent in Babylonian su-hur (and s-hu-ur) spi (CT XII, 41, 23-24 c-d). Cf. also Boissier, Documents Assyriens relatifs aux Prsages, p. 258, 4-5. The Babylonian phrase is like the Hebrew one to be interpreted as a euphemism for the hair around the male or female organ. To be sure, the change from H to K in HSKYRH constitutes an objection, but not a serious one in the case of a loan-word, which would aim to give the pronunciation of the original word, rather ...
— An Old Babylonian Version of the Gilgamesh Epic • Anonymous

... me; that is Paul's minimising euphemism for the grim realities of imprisonment, or perhaps for some recent ominous turns in his circumstances. To him they are not worth dwelling on further, nor is their personal incidence worth taking into account; the only ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... retreat is the more wonderful; the whole human race seems, as it were, delivered from their power. In Sophocles, however, they do not ever appear, but are kept altogether in the background; and they are never mentioned by their own name, but always alluded to by some softening euphemism. But this very obscurity, so exactly befitting these daughters of night, and the very distance at which they are kept, are calculated to excite a silent horror in which the bodily senses have no part. The clothing ...
— Lectures on Dramatic Art - and Literature • August Wilhelm Schlegel trans John Black

... been glad to exchange the ocean for more honorable service on shore. The result was the tragic yet almost ludicrous termination which we have narrated. He left a handsome property, the result of his various piracies, or, according to the usual euphemism, prizes. He often expressed regret at the number of traders whom he had cast into the sea, complaining, in particular, of one victim whom he had thrown overboard, who would never sink, but who for years long ever floated in ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... conditions necessary to the perfect pamphlet. There was not the political freedom; there was not the public; there was not the immediate object; there was not, last and most of all, the style. Political utterances under a more or less despotic, or, as the modern euphemism goes, 'personal' government, were almost necessarily those of a retained advocate, who expected his immediate reward, on the one hand; or of a rebel, who stood to make his account with office if he ...
— Political Pamphlets • George Saintsbury

... child to be a boy, despite the fact that it was a more serious matter to launch a son on the world than a daughter. But she knew well that, if anything were to happen to her lover (this was now her euphemism for his failing to keep his promise), a boy, when he came to man's estate, might find it in his heart to forgive his mother for the untoward circumstances of his birth, whereas a daughter would only feel resentment at the possible handicap with which the absence ...
— Sparrows - The Story of an Unprotected Girl • Horace W. C. Newte

... largest of Balzac's great works—the very last of them, if we accept La Cousine Bette, to which is pendant and contrast—Le Cousin Pons has always united suffrages from very different classes of admirers. In the first place, it is not "disagreeable," as the common euphemism has it, and as La Cousine Bette certainly is. In the second, it cannot be accused of being a berquinade, as those who like Balzac best when he is doing moral rag-picking are apt to describe books like Le Medecin de ...
— Poor Relations • Honore de Balzac

... a mere mis-spelling of "God," or a sort of euphemism like the modern "thank goodness!" to ...
— A Letter Book - Selected with an Introduction on the History and Art of Letter-Writing • George Saintsbury

... attempt to render the various plays upon words; but the term "omo[:i]" needs explanation. It means "thought" or "thoughts;" but in colloquial phraseology it is often used as a euphemism for a dying person's last desire of vengeance. In various dramas it has been used in the signification of "avenging ghost." Thus the exclamation, "His thought has come back!"—in reference to a dead man—really means: ...
— The Romance of the Milky Way - And Other Studies & Stories • Lafcadio Hearn

... be so disappointed if he loses. And I shall be so happy when the game is over and I am sure that he is not maimed for life. He is doing wonders still, dear boy. Twice I see him lying flat and motionless on the field with the wind stamped out of him, to borrow Sam's euphemism, while his mother wriggles in her seat in the throes of uncertainty and is hardly to be restrained from going to him. Twice, after the doctor has fumbled over him and water has been dashed in his face, I see Sam's diagnosis vindicated, ...
— The Opinions of a Philosopher • Robert Grant

... feature' is a common, allegedly humorous euphemism for a {bug}. There's a related joke that is sometimes referred to as the "one-question geek test". You say to someone "I saw a Volkswagen Beetle today with a vanity license plate that read FEATURE". If he/she laughs, he/she is a geek ...
— The Jargon File, Version 4.0.0

... been locally put upon his head. A patriotic philanthropist, destitute of the bowels of compassion and of every dictate of humanity, might have saved a great deal of undeserved suffering if he had made this donation towards his 'removal'—a pretty euphemism of Land ...
— The Reminiscences of an Irish Land Agent • S.M. Hussey

... narrow, dirty street was swarming with inhabitants, the front doors were mostly open, and many people had placed chairs on the doorsteps and pavement and were sitting out, though it would be an euphemism to speak of enjoying the fresh air in such a neighbourhood. The house at which I stopped was a six-roomed "cottage," but whilst I stood on the doorstep, waiting to gain admittance, at least fourteen persons passed in and out. At last a wizened old ...
— A Girl Among the Anarchists • Isabel Meredith

... white-shirted, but trouserless, deacons would listen to him. And furthermore, they gave him a warning—if Rime continued obstinate, they would hold him (Macpherson) responsible and tapu his store. Rime did continue obstinate, and next morning the trader found himself tabooed, which is a mere euphemism for boycotted. ...
— Rodman The Boatsteerer And Other Stories - 1898 • Louis Becke

... encircle it, and which now confront the eye with a rounded wall, where the Saracenic horseshoe remains distinct, but the space of yellow masonry below seems to forbid the outsider stealing knowledge of the spectacle inside. The spectacle is of course no feast of bulls (as the Spanish euphemism has it), but the first amphitheatrical impression is not wholly dispersed by the sight of the interior. In order that the reader at his distance may figure this, he must imagine an indefinite cavernous expanse, with a low roof supported in vaulted ...
— Familiar Spanish Travels • W. D. Howells

... should not forget the time at which Shakespeare wrote," say his admirers. "It was a time of cruel and coarse habits, a time of the then fashionable euphemism, i.e., artificial way of expressing oneself—a time of forms of life strange to us, and therefore, to judge about Shakespeare, one should have in view the time when he wrote. In Homer, as in Shakespeare, there is much which is strange to us, but ...
— Tolstoy on Shakespeare - A Critical Essay on Shakespeare • Leo Tolstoy

... embassy from the Duke of Florence. He saw Bebo, and asked him what he was doing in Milan, and Bebo answered that he was a knight errant.' This phrase—derived, no doubt, from the romantic epics then in vogue—was a pretty euphemism for a rogue of Bebo's quality. The ambassador now began cautiously to sound his man, who seems to have been outlawed from the Tuscan duchy, telling him he knew a way by which he might return with favor to his home, and at last disclosing ...
— Renaissance in Italy, Volumes 1 and 2 - The Catholic Reaction • John Addington Symonds



Words linked to "Euphemism" :   expiration, at rest, wetting, dysphemism, neutralisation, departure, expression, exit, movement, gone, asleep, neutralization, loss, going, making water, passing water, bowel movement, euphemize, leak



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