Service of Euphemisms

January 7th, 2021

Categories: Euphemism, Jargon, Pet Peeves

Photo: “Now, now, it wasn’t a lie–it was a one-eighty.” fineartamerica.com

We’ve come a long way from the days of “sanitation engineer,” one of the first head scratching euphemisms I remember. Outrageous euphemisms are a first cousin of jargon which is top of my list of pet peeves.

The one that gets me these days is “food insecurity” when hunger says it all.

Photo: unitedway.org

The NBA wants team owners to be called “governor.” What’s wrong with owner? Others that get me are collateral damage and ethnic cleansing.

In “25 Terribly Misleading Euphemisms,” Amber Healy on INSH identified some that were unfamiliar to me: Take “compassion zone.” She explained that it refers to “an area within Kansas City designated for homeless people.” What about flashlight therapy? It’s “another way of saying a person is beaten by a flashlight, usually one carried by law enforcement officers.” She wrote that transfer tubes are what the military calls body bags and another way to refer to excrement is biosolids.

Do euphemisms that try to soften the truth irritate you? What are some you embrace?

Photo: kxan.com

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4 Responses to “Service of Euphemisms”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    Euphemisms appear to be used to soften any accuracy thought to be too tough for delicate ears. I have no use for them, avoid them and find them, for the most part, a poor way to make oneself understood.

    This politically correct pussyfooting is not for me: i.e., if someone is hungry, that’s what they are. Not food challenged. Let’s not be so dainty. It doesn’t make a bad thing better.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    The inventors may want to make themselves feel better as well as softening the blow for another person’s ears but for someone with hunger pangs the word insecurity is far from accurate.

    Euphemisms existed long before PC sensitivity but perhaps the initiative has caused more egregious examples.

  3. JBS Said:

    How do you think of topics for your blog? I’m amazed at the variety..

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    JBS,

    I have always done this…on the lookout for angles for what I write for clients etc. In addition, Homer and I discussed so many things…so now I pose my questions or share irritations in blog posts. Cheaper than a psychiatrist!

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