Definition of euphemism in English:

euphemism

noun

  • A mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.

    ‘“downsizing” as a euphemism for cuts’
    The opposite of dysphemism
    • ‘Ratios are now commonly being used as euphemisms to express calamity.’
    • ‘Instead, they hide behind a wall of euphemisms, refusing even to use the word ‘disabled’.’
    • ‘Each drawn shoe is accompanied by a blunt euphemism from the history of conflict.’
    • ‘Notably, the word ‘challenge’ was used as a euphemism to gloss over the existence of serious problems.’
    • ‘As a practical matter, the current legal regime substitutes palliative euphemisms for useful controls on police discretion.’
    • ‘Languages are constantly developing euphemisms for sex words.’
    • ‘She wants to reclaim the word old and rejects euphemisms like elderly and seniors.’
    • ‘We have lots of euphemisms for menstruation, and we don't refer to it unless in the company of women, and rarely even then.’
    • ‘Sir John could be counted on not to speak in mild euphemisms.’
    • ‘Such mild, culinary euphemisms muffled and camouflaged the enforced famines and the murders of millions.’
    • ‘It shows that the trend to hide unpleasant truths behind euphemisms is alive and well.’
    • ‘As I remember, it was shortly after the word gay became the euphemism for homosexual.’
    • ‘I don't like euphemisms or euphemistic language.’
    • ‘Reform is a polite euphemism for forcing banks to close out bad loans, enforce bankruptcy and require layoffs of excess workers.’
    • ‘Like all euphemisms, pedophilia and ephebophilia are words meant to protect us from realities too painful to confront.’
    • ‘He appeared his boldest; he was not one to speak in mild euphemisms.’
    • ‘Women are more likely to use polite euphemisms for topics such as death and sex.’
    • ‘It was like a euphemism for a dirty word, he'd rather people'd just said the word than try to make it seem nicer.’
    • ‘A simple chat with her could be downright frustrating when she didn't understand half of the euphemisms being used.’
    • ‘‘Environmental design’ is just one of the many euphemisms for the ubertrendy catch words Feng Shui.’
    polite term, substitute, mild alternative, indirect term, understatement, underplaying, softening, politeness, genteelism, coy term
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century: from Greek euphēmismos, from euphēmizein use auspicious words from eu well + phēmē speaking.

Pronunciation:

euphemism

/ˈyo͞ofəˌmizəm/