Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Euphemism'
n : an inoffensive expression that is substituted for one that
is considered offensive [ant: dysphemism]
- Euphemism \Eu"phe*mism\, n. [Gr. ? fr. ? to use word of a good
omen; ? well + ? to speak: cf. F. euph['e]misme. See Fame.]
A figure in which a harts or indelicate word or expression is
softened; a way of describing an offensive thing by an
inoffensive expression; a mild name for something
Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Euphemism'
A euphemism is a substitution of an expression that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the receiver with an agreeable or less offensive expression, or to make it less troublesome for the speaker, as in the case of doublespeak. The deployment of euphemisms is a central aspect within the public application of political correctness.
It may also substitute a description of something or someone to avoid revealing secret, holy, or sacred names to the uninitiated, or to obscure the identity of the subject of a conversation from potential eavesdroppers. Some euphemisms are intended to amuse.
When a phrase is used as a euphemism, it often becomes a metaphor whose literal meaning is dropped. Euphemisms may be used to hide unpleasant or disturbing ideas, even when the literal term for them is not necessarily offensive. This type of euphemism is used in public relations and politics, where it is sometimes called doublespeak. Sometimes, using euphemisms is equated to politeness. There are also superstitious euphemisms, based (consciously or subconsciously) on the idea that words have the power to bring bad fortune (for example, not speaking the word "autism"; see etymology and common examples below), and there are religious euphemisms, based on the idea that some words are holy, or that some words are spiritually imperiling (taboo; see etymology).[See more about Euphemism at Dictionary 3.0 Encyclopedia]
Words and phrases related to 'Euphemism'