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
“We live in interesting times” — even if the euphemism is apocryphal, its truth value is the same.
PC euphemism is an insult to everyone's intelligence and an assault on free speech, human dignity, and the English language.
Populated by a subculture comprised of wizened mechanics, poignant, heroic street urchins, crack-addicted car dwellers, Foreign Parts is a documentary about the fading Steinbeckian (to deal in euphemism) marketplace that is the Willets Point car repair strip in Queens, NY, where a cluster of garages with deep inventories of all manner of car parts from all manner of vehicle, furnish countless savvy, budget-conscious New Yorkers with daily miracles plucked from endless shelves and heaps.
The idea of purity tests by any euphemism is an insult to political parties.
The concern, stripped of euphemism, is that the evidentiary basis for many trials of Guantanamo detainees — including, in many cases, torture — would never be admissible in any court worthy of the name.
(You will excuse me if, like Humbert, I dissolve into French when euphemism is required.)
A bunch of blog-spammers and google-spoofers (the euphemism is "Search Engine Optimization" -- no doubt you've received spam offering you this "service") set up a competition to see who could become the number one Google result for the previously unused phrase "nigritude ultramarine."
The middle manager who says that “we’ll decision this” may be engaging in euphemism or attempting to appear to be a “modern” manager by being linguistically innovative, perhaps hoping to invoke ideas like “scientific management” and hence the manager’s own expertise.
Barry Goldwater would be apoplectic about a) universal health care b) card check union boosterism c) politicians who support positive discrimination (or in American euphemism-speak, affirmative action) d) government fiscal stimuli of the economy e) bailout of corrupt firms (read: Detroit Three).
Charitable events have often been called a euphemism for social life; that notwithstanding, they have also raised an enormous amount of money for good causes.