Entertainment / Literature / Euphemism: Using a mild or gentle phrase instead of a blunt, embarrassing, or painful one. For instance, saying 'Grandfather has gone to a better place' is a euphemism for 'Grandfather has died.' The idea is to put something bad, disturbing, or embarrassing in an inoffensive or neutral light. Frequently, words referring directly to death, unpopular politics, blasphemy, crime, and sexual or excremental activities are replaced by euphemisms. Examples from medieval French include the euphemism 'a wound in the thigh' to describe a wound to a knight's genitals. Examples from the Elizabethan period include the exclamation zounds! As a euphemism for the curse, 'God's wounds!' Similarly, we now use euphemisms such as 'Gosh darn!' instead of 'God damn!' or 'Gee whiz!' instead of 'Jesus!' For an extraordinarily thorough list of sexual euphemisms in Shakespeare's plays, see Eric Partridge's Shakespeare's Bawdy (1960). Note that euphemism should not be confused with euphuism, below.

Other Words for Euphemism

Euphemism Verb Synonyms: amelioration, mollification, mitigation, cushioning, paradiastole


Life Style / Coffee / Acidity: Taste those high, thin notes, the dryness the coffee leaves at the back of your palate and under the edges of your tongue? This pleasant tartness, snap, or twist is what coffee people call acidity. It MORE


Entertainment / Literature / Euphuism: Not to be confused with euphemism, above, euphuism is a highly ornate style of writing popularized by John Lyly's Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578). The style is sententious, relies heavily on balanc MORE


Entertainment / Bowling / Sandbagger: A bowler who deliberately keeps his average low during the first part of the season, to take advantage of an artificially high handicap later on. A cheater. MORE