- the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.
- the expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”
Origin of euphemism
Related Words for euphemisticinoffensive, affected, delicate, figurative, indirect, metaphorical, mild, refined, vague
Examples from the Web for euphemistic
Contemporary Examples of euphemistic
This is comedy based on a cold humor, detached, euphemistic, devoid of any generosity.Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President
January 9, 2015
“ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder] is just a euphemistic way of saying, ‘I have limits,’” Brown writes.Can Self-Help Books Really Make a New You?
December 29, 2014
Take it from Ben Bernanke, who keeps begging Congress (in that euphemistic Fed-speak way) to do something to help the economy.It’s Your Moment, Obama. Don’t Blow It.
July 29, 2013
Nowhere does this report, even in the most euphemistic terms possible, discuss the rage problem.The GOP’s Inept Autopsy
March 18, 2013
Historical Examples of euphemistic
The euphemistic plural disappeared at the first syllable from Blanche.The Thousandth Woman
Ernest W. Hornung
Rakshas means protector, and is, probably, an euphemistic term.Indian Fairy Tales
They give it euphemistic and deceitful names—auburn, bronze, Titian.Damn!
Henry Louis Mencken
We may note here the euphemistic tendency to call powerful spirits by propitiatory names.The Sources and Analogues of 'A Midsummer-night's Dream'
Compiled by Frank Sidgwick
I do not think this is a euphemistic way of saying he had a good opinion of himself.Wagner as I Knew Him
Ferdinand Christian Wilhelm Praeger
- an inoffensive word or phrase substituted for one considered offensive or hurtful, esp one concerned with religion, sex, death, or excreta. Examples of euphemisms are sleep with for have sexual intercourse with; departed for dead; relieve oneself for urinate
- the use of such inoffensive words or phrases
Word Origin for euphemism
1650s, from Greek euphemismos "use of a favorable word in place of an inauspicious one," from euphemizein "speak with fair words, use words of good omen," from eu- "good" (see eu-) + pheme "speaking," from phanai "speak" (see fame (n.)).
In ancient Greece, the superstitious avoidance of words of ill-omen during religious ceremonies, or substitutions such as Eumenides "the Gracious Ones" for the Furies (see also Euxine). In English, a rhetorical term at first; broader sense of "choosing a less distasteful word or phrase than the one meant" is first attested 1793. Related: Euphemistic; euphemistically.
An agreeable word or expression substituted for one that is potentially offensive, often having to do with bodily functions, sex, or death; for example, rest room for toilet, lady of the evening for prostitute. The Nazis used euphemism in referring to their plan to murder the world's Jews (see also Jews) as “the Final Solution.”