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Euphemism   /jˈufəmˌɪzəm/   Listen

An inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh.

WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University

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"Euphemism" Quotes from Famous Books

... which would have been more heartily relished on a full stomach. He told us what a blessed time Christmas was, and that people did well to be joyful on the anniversary of their Savior's birth. Before dismissing us with his blessing to our "little rooms," which was his habitual euphemism for our cells, he remarked that he could not wish us a happy Christmas in our unhappy condition, but he would wish us a peaceful Christmas; and he ventured to promise us that boon if, after leaving ...
— Prisoner for Blasphemy • G. W. [George William] Foote

... man to understand that in order to abstain effectually from so suicidal a proclamation, he must declare with all the voice of his lungs, that his fish are that moment hardly out of the ocean. "It's the poetry of euphemism," Robinson once said to Poppins;—but he might as well have ...
— The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson - By One of the Firm • Anthony Trollope

... modern Hinduism, there is frequent mention of such heavens and hells, and when the idea of rebirths is also met with, the rebirths are regarded as stages towards the reward or punishment of the individual conscious souls. It is the popular idea of heaven that has given rise to the common euphemism for to die, namely, to become a deva or ...
— New Ideas in India During the Nineteenth Century - A Study of Social, Political, and Religious Developments • John Morrison

... delivered. Such ancient and innocent words as "bitch" and "bastard" disappeared from the American language; Bartlett tells us, indeed, in his "Dictionary of Americanisms,"[41] that even "bull" was softened to "male cow." This was the Golden Age of euphemism, as it was of euphuism; the worst inventions of the English mid-Victorians were adopted and improved. The word "woman" became a term of opprobrium, verging close upon downright libel; legs became the inimitable "limbs"; the stomach began to run from the "bosom" to the pelvic ...
— A Book of Prefaces • H. L. Mencken

... that their difficulties were the same as ours, and that there is nothing new under the sun. Of course, a great deal of it all was "imagination." But the question then, as now is, what is this wonder-working imagination?—unless the word be used as a mere euphemism for lying, which really, in many cases, is hardly fair. We cannot wonder at the old Neoplatonists for attributing these strange phenomena to spiritual influence, when we see some who ought to know ...
— Alexandria and her Schools • Charles Kingsley

... a scout. The fact was well known. There was no one within a five-mile radius of William's home who did not know it. Sensitive old ladies had fled shuddering from their front windows when William marched down the street singing (the word is a euphemism) his scout songs in his strong young voice. Curious smells emanated from the depth of the garden where William performed mysterious culinary operations. One old lady whose cat had disappeared looked at William with dour suspicion in her eye whenever he passed. Even the return ...
— More William • Richmal Crompton

... "A euphemism for the devil," said Hilary, grimly; "he is the animal part of us, I have been brought up ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... bid to live long," a conventional euphemism for "has died." "Remember what his name was," ...
— Russian Fairy Tales - A Choice Collection of Muscovite Folk-lore • W. R. S. Ralston

... it was something that Providence might or might not allow. In the treatment of "sthenic" acute diseases (meaning those accompanied by excitement and high fever), blood-letting, mercury given to the point of salivation, antimony, and opium, together with starvation (all included under the euphemism of "lowering measures"), were the means universally resorted to and reputed "sheet anchors." Some advance had been made from the times when disease had been looked upon as an entity to be exorcised, but ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume XIV • John Lord

... 63: Wa'a. Literally a canoe. This is a euphemism for the human body, a gift often too freely granted. It will be noted that in the answering mele komo, the song of admission, the reward promised is more modestly ...
— Unwritten Literature of Hawaii - The Sacred Songs of the Hula • Nathaniel Bright Emerson

... discusses, the general misapprehension both of the strong and weak points of the woman question, and the ignorance displayed by many, of what the co-education of the sexes really means, all forbid that ambiguity of language or euphemism of expression should be employed in the discussion." The italics are ours, but the words are Dr. Clarke's; and unmistakably show that the main drift of the book is to stem and if possible to turn the tide of popular conviction ...
— The Education of American Girls • Anna Callender Brackett

... excuses; she herself did not calculate on my believing. Everything she said to-night, if proved false, she might justify to-morrow by saying, 'Oh, well, of course, I never thought you would take that seriously; I thought you would understand that was a euphemism to save your feelings, and so on; you know one does not say to a person's face one is tired of him and wishes the thing off.' That is what she may say afterwards, or, of course, what she told me may be the truth. It may be an excuse ...
— To-morrow? • Victoria Cross

... his former cruises, had 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 ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... optimist could scarcely help feeling that in a few seconds we were likely to be put out of action—polite euphemism!—before striking a blow. But the God of battles was with us, for the third shell, to our utter astonishment, not unmingled with relief, never came! The reason was soon apparent: a battery of horse-artillery ...
— With Our Army in Palestine • Antony Bluett

... euphemism, has likewise come to mean a corpse: hence the verb hotoke-zukuri, 'to look ghastly,' to have the semblance of one ...
— Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan • Lafcadio Hearn

Words linked to "Euphemism" :   deceased, neutralisation, saying, expression, euphemize, loss, bm, neutralization, passing, gone, release, departed, exit, going, expiration, at rest, wetting, euphemistic, movement, bowel movement, passing water, dysphemism, collateral damage, at peace, asleep, leak, making water, locution, sanitation department, departure

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