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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Euphemisms: What are they and why you should use them

There are some words that some people might find outright offensive or impolite or upsetting.

So how do you convey your message without offending someone?

The answer is just one word: Euphemisms. These are terms used in place of those ‘offensive’ words to make it sound tolerable, acceptable or polite. It’s like sugar-coating the message to make it seem less harsh than it actually is.

Here’s an example: Instead of saying “John was sent to a jail after that incident”, you could say “John was sent to a correctional facility after that incident”. In this case, “jail” and “correctional facility” both mean the same thing but the second sentence makes the situation more palatable.

In this article, we’ll explore euphemisms for some common topics.

+ Physical/ mental disability: Instead of saying “handicapped” or “disabled”, you could say “physical challenged” or “differently abled”. Instead of saying “retarded”, you could say “mentally challenged”. “Special needs” could be used for people that are physically and/or mentally challenged.

+ Death: Instead of saying “died”, you could say “passed away”, “deceased”, or “taken to Jesus”.

+ Euthanasia: “Put one to sleep” or “put one out of misery” could be used instead of “euthanasia” or “euthanized”. (You’ll mostly find it used in vet clinics)

+ Overweight: “Ample proportions”, “plus-sized”, or “stocky” could be used in place of “fat” or “obese”.

+ Lavatory: You might find it hard to believe but the words “bathroom”, “washroom”, and “restroom” all are euphemisms for “toilet”.

+ Flatulence: “Break wind”, “pass gas”, “cut the wind” could be used instead of the word “fart”.

+ Lying: Instead of saying “lying” or “lied”, you could say “color the truth”, “bending the truth”, or “misstatement”.

And there are euphemisms for almost all of the ‘taboo’ topics in English. It is understandable when some of you say English is a difficult language but using euphemisms in everyday conversation not only makes you appear sophisticated but also makes your message much more acceptable.

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