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Language users at all times evade using words and vocabularies which are uncomfortable, unsuitable or awkward to them or to whom they are communicating. This repressing of language occurs primarily instinctively through applying euphemistic expressions. Euphemisms are often used by talkers of diverse languages to moderate the impact of notions with the probable to cause felony and social discontentment. Euphemisms protect talkers from undesired emotional provocation. Anxiety, humiliation, and hatred are three principal factors inspiring the use of euphemisms.   


What is Euphemism?

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A Euphemism is a polite inoffensive expression words or phrases replaced for one considered offensive or hurtful that contrarily might be considered bitter, blunt or unpleasant to hear. In short, the term euphemism refers to courteous, unintended expressions which is the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression that replace words and phrases considered harsh and disrespectful or which suggest something unpleasant. When the aim is not to offend or hurt someone with honest intentions. 

Possibly there is no other word in English for which there are more euphemisms than for the verb “to die.” When someone dies, we say he passed away, passed on or simply passed. Or he is in a better place now, gone on to his heavenly reward or as the doctor may have said just as the patient breathed his last breath. “She expired.”
Lets consider a few more Examples:
  • Collateral damage instead of accidental deaths
  • Use the rest room instead of go to the bathroom
  • Between jobs instead of unemployed
  • Domestic engineer instead of maid


Types of Euphemisms

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To Soften an Expression - Some euphemisms are used to make a blunt or obnoxious truth seem less hard.
  • Passed away instead of died
  • Differently-abled instead of handicapped or disabled
  • Relocation center instead of prison camp
  • Letting someone go instead of firing someone
  • On the streets instead of homeless

Euphemisms to be Polite - Some euphemisms are used to take the place of words or phrases one might not want to say in polite circle.

  • Adult beverages instead of beer or liquor
  • Big-boned instead of heavy or overweight
  • Vertically-challenged instead of short
  • Economical with the truth instead of liar
  • Between jobs instead of unemployed

Euphemisms to be Impolite - euphemisms are intentionally a callous or insensitive way of saying something. These euphemisms are usually used when being sarcastic or trying to make light of a serious subject or make it seem less serious.

  • Bit the dust instead of died
  • Blow chunks instead of vomited
  • Bit the farm instead of died

Examples of Euphemisms

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Euphemism is frequently used in everyday life. Let us look at some common euphemism examples:
  • Retarded - mentally challenged
  • Blind - Visually challenged
  • Crippled - Differently abled
  • Bald - follicularly challenged
  • Poor - economically marginalized
  • Fat - gravitationally challenged, Overweight
  • Lazy - motivationally deficient
  • beggar - panhandler, homeless person
  • coffin - casket
  • old age - golden age, golden years
  • criminal (adj) - illegal
  • confinement - detention
  • lawyer - attorney
  • sick - indisposed, ill, under the weather
  • toilet - john, WC, men's room, restroom, bathroom, washroom, lavatory
Euphemism in sentences:
  • He is always tired and emotional (drunk). He is a special child (disabled or retarded).
  • You are becoming a little thin on top (bald).
  • Our teacher is in the family way (pregnant).
  • We do not hire mentally challenged (stupid) people.
  • The individual was accused of appropriating funds.
  • Joey isn’t broke, he is having temporary negative cash flow.
  • Sam isn't buying a used car, he is purchasing a pre-enjoyed or pre-loved vehicle.
  • Dian's supervisor laid him off because he was unmotivated.
  • Politicians don't commit crimes, they 'make mistakes.'
  • I don't care if you keep smoking, you'll be the one pushing up the daisies at the age of 40, not me!
  • Putting stray dogs to sleep is the most humane thing to do.

Common Euphemism

Lets consider Euphemisms for death and dying as an example:

a race well run    definitely done dancing
in a better place
feeling no pain  go west   
departed finished at room temperature get a one-way ticket out of his/her misery
cross the bar asleep
 join the majority bite the dust 
kick the bucket
living-impaired   resting in peace  check out pass away no longer with us
meet his/her maker
wearing a toe tag
yield up the ghost kick the oxygen habit pushing up the daisies
six feet under with the angels terminated call home final curtain call


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Guess the meaning of the below mentioned phrases:
  • armed intervention
  • to put something/someone to sleep
  • Dear John letter
  • to have one too many
  • to be economical with the truth
  • ethnic cleansing
  • to pass away
  • fall off a back of a lorry

Fill in the blanks with appropriate Euphemism:

  1. His grandmother _________ at the age of 100. 
  2. Our son is _________ , but he is making great academic progress.
  3. The clerical assistant had an _________ relationship with the office superintendent.
  4. Jamie's dog Bowers went to the great doggy park _________ .
  5. Paul looks dreadful this morning. I think he may _________ in the pub last night.
  6. We had Fido put to _________ .
  7. Poor people are called _________ , under-privileged; _________ or economically _________ .
  8. Congratulations! I hear your wife is in the _________ .
  9. People who have severe learning difficulties are sometimes called intellectually-_________.
  10. Where can I _________ my hands?

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