What is a Euphemism?

"Downsizing" is a euphemism for getting rid of employees.
"Couch potato" is a common euphemism for a lazy person.
Praying to the porcelain altar is a euphemism for vomiting in the toilet.
A "sanitation worker" is a euphemism for trash collector.
Article Details
  • Written By: L. S. Wynn
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Peruvians eat more than 60 million guinea pigs a year.  more...

December 21 ,  1933 :  Dried blood serum was first produced.  more...

A euphemism is a word or phrase used to mask a rude or offensive concept. These figures of speech provide a technique to avoid taboos by being polite. Many euphemisms are so common, that we don't even recognize them as such. Perhaps the best way to learn about euphemisms is to investigate some clever examples:

They usually fall into one of the following categories:

Cacophemism or dysphemism are the opposites of euphemism. A dysphemism is an offensive substitute of something inoffensive. Let us consider a lazy person who is watching television, for example; he may euphemize his behavior by saying that he is 'recuperating from work'. A correlated dysphemism, or insulting substitute would be 'couch potato'.


More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post 4

Your answers and examples really helped to illustrate the meaning of the word. I had no idea what it meant. But now it's crystal clear. Thanks.

Post 3

Yes i was having s convo and someone said never mind the euphemism, and spelled it like that and they had me confused bout what they were talking about?

Post 2

Really helped. I was looking for examples to better my understanding and you hit the nail right on the spot. thanks

Post 1

How about pre-owned for used, adult language for obscene language, and mobile community for trailer park.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?