from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The use of a derogatory, offensive or vulgar word or phrase to replace a (more) neutral original.
  • n. A word or phrase that is used to replace another in this way.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an offensive or disparaging expression that is substituted for an inoffensive one


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Late 19th century, dys- after euphemism.


  • As euphemism, these clearly outdo themselves to the opposite extreme ( "dysphemism," as also in "greasy spoon" or "cancer stick").

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol VI No 2

  • For example, during the development and service period of the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, engineers working for Lockheed Corporation at the Skunk Works used the term unobtainium as a dysphemism for titanium.

    Two New Extended Clips from AVATAR –

  • “Disabled” is currently a neutral term, but it might have once had a euphemistic ring to it, and may one day become a dysphemism.

    Waldo Jaquith - The euphemism treadmill.

  • It is a dysphemism for what is sometimes known as “community organizing” -- professionally staging protests and lending them credibility via the false impression of spontaneity.

    Leave Barack Alone!

  • Putting aside the question of whether “right-wing” is an accurate description or just a dysphemism, Harford was speaking only of the pricing aspect of the “Fair Trade” approach, which, rightly or wrongly, is what most people think of as its most significant aspect.

    Link Farm & Open Thread #42

  • Curiously, the word works as both dysphemism and euphemism: Americans were repelled in 1940 at the fictional account of lynching called The Ox-Bow Incident, but when Chinese Communist officials want to minimize what Westerners call “the massacre at Tiananmen Square,” they call that crushing of studentled protest “the incident of June 4, 1989” in Chinese, liu si, “six four”.

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • (Or would Americans just think of Republicans vs Democrats in Congress?) #17: Try 'dysphemism, dysphemistic' in analogy with 'to euphemize'.


  • More reliable sources, however, tend to agree that if you'll allow me a minor dysphemism, the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist if we don't supply the missing ingredient that could stop the nationwide slide into misoneism. - 3,4,5,6,7,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,27,28,29,30,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,41,42,48,49,50,52

  • Depending which way the economic wind is blowing, they demand more subprime lending, or curbs on subprime lending, which through the magic of dysphemism, is linguistically transformed into "predatory lending."

    Sigmund, Carl and Alfred

  • The most common forms of dysphemism occur in the many terms used against ethnic and religious groups, which need not be retailed here.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIX No 1


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  • JM is determined that dysphemism is never referred to as a disparaging or disagreeable

    August 18, 2010

  • a great word! It should become part of our critical vocabulary, since dysphemism is such a widespread tool of politicians.

    December 12, 2007

  • test:


    December 12, 2007

  • May 16, 2007

  • Would euphemism not be an antonym of dysphemism?

    January 6, 2007

  • great word! synomym: euphemism

    December 30, 2006