from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive: "Euphemisms such as 'slumber room' . . . abound in the funeral business” ( Jessica Mitford).
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The use of a word or phrase to replace another with one that is considered less offensive, blunt or vulgar than the word or phrase it replaces.
- n. A word or phrase that is used to replace another in this way.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A figure in which a harsh or indelicate word or expression is softened; a way of describing an offensive thing by an inoffensive expression; a mild name for something disagreeable.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In rhetoric, the use of a mild, delicate, or indirect word or expression in place of a plainer and more accurate one, which by reason of its meaning or its associations or suggestions might be offensive, unpleasant, or embarrassing.
- n. A word or expression thus substituted: as, to employ a euphemism.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh
Greek euphēmismos, from euphēmizein, to use auspicious words, from euphēmiā, use of auspicious words : eu-, eu- + phēmē, speech; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Recorded since 1656; from Ancient Greek εὐφημισμός (euphēmismos), from εὐφημίζω (euphēmizō), from εὔφημος (euphēmos, "uttering sound of good omen, abstaining from inauspicious words"), from εὖ (eu, "well") + φήμη (phēmē, "a voice, a prophetic voice, rumor, talk"), from φάναι (phanai, "to speak, say"). (Wiktionary)