Euphemism Pronunciation: (Yoo-fuh-mi-zm) I just realized how beautiful the figurative aspect of the language could be, exposing them to use to the extent where we don’t even realize we’re using them and understanding slangs and clichés. They usually come in handy while writing descriptions, explanations, and comparisons.
It is one of the very important figures of speech. I usually define it as “… a not so offensive way of referring to something offensive”. It helps a speaker to avoid being too straightforward and maintain a sense of modesty. It can be, at times, really gross, or it can be used in a very funny way too.
What is another word to be used in its place?
Euphemism meaning in English includes “Mild Alternative”. People use another term called “Mock Modesty” or “Verbal Extenuation” for it. All functions to be the same—lessening the toxicity or seriousness of an offensive word or statement as per definition.
What are Its examples?
Some of the examples usually used by people in everyday life are:
- Powder your nose instead of going to the toilet
- Break wind instead of pass gas or fart
- Blow chunks instead of vomit
Women mostly do not like to be too straight forward and “honest” when it comes to their age. The euphemistic approach is bliss in that matter.
- Over the hill and picking up speed instead of old
The fact that it is mostly applied where deaths and departures are given less terrorizing looks. Euphemism examples concerning death and departure include:
- Passed away instead of died
- Eliminate instead of kill
- Dearly departed instead of died
- Ethnic cleansing instead of genocide
- Negative patient outcome instead of dying
- Collateral damage instead of accidental deaths
- Put to sleep instead of euthanizing
- Pregnancy termination instead of abortion
Sometimes when the topic can be a direct blow to the ego, euphemism in a sentence is used for things that can be a little less cruel than death. For example, “You have an interesting point of you” can be used in place of “You’re an idiot”.
- On the streets instead of homeless
- Economical instead of cheap
- Negative cash flow instead of broke
- Taking an early retirement instead of getting fired
- Urban outdoorsman instead of homeless
It’s really hard to say if people these days avoid conversations that turn out to be steamy but still, most people like to be a little ‘civil’ while using words concerning sexual encounters like “the birds and the bees”.
What is the importance of “Euphemism”?
The essence of figurative in language is to beautify the verbal interaction of a speaker. It adds influence and hence, weightage to your conversation. It adds politeness and softens otherwise hurtful words, especially when we’re speaking to someone who can easily be disturbed or offended by it. This helps develop benign interaction.
Makes a language soft:
Though it might look as if it may manipulate the meaning of a word and the intensity it holds, but it actually does make a language sound polite.
Taboo Topics are Easily discussed:
It makes it easy to talk about topics that are rather too ‘bold’ or ‘forbidden’. Where once it was not easy to exchange knowledge about “sexual abuse and encounters”, people had started using it to substitute those words.
It creates an aura of a diplomatic environment where you can normalize criticism or offense without making it sound too harsh and piercing. It is not easily mastered but is seen commonly as circumlocution involves the use of unneeded words, making the statement even vaguer.
What are the types of Euphemism?
“In which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary”.
This is the kind of it where sentiment is expressed by negating its opposite. For example, He is not in a very good mood= He’s grumpy.
In order to not make it offensive for some, we usually use the word “Jeez” for “Jesus”, “Frigging” for “Freaking” and “Shoot” for “Shit”. By changing their pronunciation as well as spellings, these swear words end up being a little less offensive to people.
Another kind of it is when people wish to mention something they cannot talk about casually; they usually assign them with a personal name. For example, in most fan fictions, Genitals are referred to by using the words ‘member’ etc.
We’ve already discussed this type in the article. All the words used in order to make them appear less offensive in front of a person are included in this category. They manipulate the meaning of the word and make it less toxic or offensive.
We’ve seen this type come in handy in books when the writer is too reluctant to write the description of a scene like going to the bathroom to pee or a steamy make-out session.
A very informal way of using euphemism is when you make certain casual words to be used only restricted for a particular group. A commonly used slang is “Grass” for “Marijuana”.
Though it may be called “another word” to describe it, I like to describe circumlocution as its type. Circumlocution simply means “to beat around the bush” or “to use extra words where fewer would do great”.
Even when there is no need for an exclusive vocabulary to say something, circumlocution involves the use of unneeded words, making the statement even vaguer.
Euphemism is an art, a bit difficult to master. It requires great communication skills and management abilities to master this art, and so even writers face trouble learning it. But once a person claims he has mastered the use of it, he can easily alter the meaning of an offensive word in a way that it becomes easy to use that word candidly.
Though, people avoid its use simply because, in academic writings, it is advised to properly write sentiments in their original tone and intensity. But I guess it gives a speaker or a writer a sense of assertiveness in their tone. It makes them able to criticize but in an assertive way and avoid aggressiveness— it makes them “Assertive” and not “Aggressive”.
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