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Search Results for: euphemism

  1. Getty

    Why Do We Use Euphemisms For Certain Body Parts?

    by Rachel Bradley Ah, childhood, those halcyon days when you chewed on a stuffed Mr. Snuffleupagus and cruised the driveway in your foot-pedaled convertible.  Childhood was also the time when, hopefully, you learned how to peepee—with your wee wee, weenie, peenie, winkey, giney, or jay-jay.  Ring any bells? Those goofy names remind us that childhood is also when our private parts are often given cutesy …

  2. Are Political Euphemisms Good Or Bad For The People?

    A euphemism is a gentle word or expression for a harsh or offensive term.

  3. What “Occupy” Used To Mean May Make You Blush

    Recently, we looked up the etymology of the word occupy. We found an unexpected obsolete definition. The term occupy formerly meant something very different than its current common meaning. From the early 1500s to the 1800s, occupy was used to refer to sexual relations, as in “to occupy a woman” as defined in the Lexicon Balatronicum in 1811. When occupy was used in that sense, …

  4. The Language Of Ageism: Understanding How We Talk About Older People

    Every May in the United States, Americans observe Older Americans Month, a month-long observance devoted to celebrating older Americans and their contributions and raising awareness about issues related to age and aging. This makes May an important time during which to consider language used to talk about older people and ageism—which we should be doing every month of the year, too! This topic matters because …

  5. The Surprisingly Religious Background Of “Golly,” “Gosh,” And “Gee”

    Gosh, golly, and gee casually express surprise or excitement, right? Well, yes, but when they were first introduced to the English language, these short words had a much more serious origin and purpose. Where did golly, gosh, and gee come from? While this folksy trio are informal interjections, they are also euphemistic alterations of the word God or, in the case of gee, Jesus. Of the three, gosh is recorded …

  6. What’s The Origin Of The F-word?

    It’s one of the most versatile words in the English language, but where did the F-word really come from? Originally, the naughtiest of naughty words was actually quite an acceptable word, though no English speaker would say that today.F-ck is believed to have first showed up in written form some time in the 1400s, and it was disguised in a cypher, although it was in use …

  7. What Do You Do With A Swearing Toddler?

    The popular American sitcom, Modern Family once featured a swearing toddler in an episode. It was not a “fleeting expletive.” The show intentionally included a cursing two-year and bleeped out all swear words. When the show premiered, the New York Times wrote about how accurately it reflected contemporary American families, and that the storylines seemed to be an accurate portrait of what many parents go through. …

  8. Why Do We Use Symbols To Censor Swearwords?

    When the force of a swearword is too extreme (but some form of cuss must be used) symbolic stand-ins have long been used for lewdness. Suffice it to say, any emotional keyboard-striker can blurt out something that people perceive as a sub for swears. Whether it’s to diminish the force of swear, to get around censorship rules, or maybe just because symbols are @#$%ing cool to look at, …

  9. Getty

    How Does Adding The Word “Possible” Change News?

    by Ashley Austrew What is a possible hate crime? A possible sexual assault? A possible terrorist attack? Crime-related news is often reported in the media using tentative language—like the word possible—that makes it seem as if there is room for doubt as to whether or not a crime was actually committed. But in many instances, either through video, photos, or the victim’s own words and evidence, it …

  10. Racist And Other Trending Words On Dictionary.com

    From a Twitter meltdown by Roseanne Barr to a word dropped on Westworld, Hollywood had a major impact on the Dictionary.com trending word list the week of May 25–June 1, 2018. Racist, abhorrent, and repugnant A series of tweets by Roseanne Barr hit the news cycle this week, and they also helped boost a number of searches on Dictionary.com. Barr, star of the eponymous show …

  11. Lexical Investigations: Hypochondriac

    Hypochondriac Hypochondriac comes ultimately from the Greek word hypokhondria, which literally means “under the cartilage (of the breastbone).” In the late 16th century, when hypochondriac first entered the English language, it referred to the upper abdomen. The upper abdomen, it turns out, was thought to be the seat of melancholy at a time when the now-outdated medical theory of the four humors (blood, phlegm, yellow …

  12. Pardon And Other Trending Words On Dictionary.com

    From the president’s Twitter account to a horse with an unusual name, searches for the meaning of words took folks into some unusual areas of Dictionary.com the week of June 1–June 8, 2018. Pardon President Donald Trump’s assertion that he can pardon himself didn’t just have the Twitterverse talking. It also sent searches for the meaning of pardon up 328% this week. We can’t say …