euphemism

\ \ [17] Etymologically, euphemism means ‘speaking with good words’. Greek euphēmismós, a compound formed ultimately from the prefix eu- ‘good, well’ and phémēspeech, saying’ (a relative of English fable, fame, and fate), originally denoted the avoidance of words of ill omen at religious ceremonies, but it was subsequently taken up by grammarians to signify the substitution of a less for a more offensive word. Its opposite, dysphemismuse of a more offensive word’, is a modern coinage, formed in the late 19th century using the Greek prefix dus- ‘bad, difficult’.
\ \ Cf.FABLE, FAME, FATE

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Synonyms:
(to avoid offending by harshness, or by indelicacy) / , ,


Look at other dictionaries:

  • euphemism — is the use of a milder or vaguer word or phrase in place of one that might seem too harsh or direct in a particular context, and a euphemism is such a word or phrase. The most productive subjects for euphemism are bodily functions, sexual… …   Modern English usage

  • Euphemism — Eu phe*mism ([=u] f[ e]*m[i^]z m), n. [Gr. ? fr. ? to use word of a good omen; e y^ well + ? to speak: cf. F. euph[ e]misme. See {Fame}.] (Rhet.) A figure in which a harsh or indelicate word or expression is softened; a way of describing an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • euphemism — index bombast Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • euphemism — 1650s, from Gk. euphemismos use of a favorable word in place of an inauspicious one, from euphemizein speak with fair words, use words of good omen, from eu good (see EU (Cf. eu )) + pheme speaking, from phanai speak (see FAME (Cf. fame) ( …   Etymology dictionary

  • euphemism — [n] nice way of saying something circumlocution, delicacy, floridness, grandiloquence, inflation, pomposity, pretense, purism; concepts 275,278 …   New thesaurus

  • euphemism — ► NOUN ▪ a mild or less direct word substituted for one that is harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. DERIVATIVES euphemistic adjective euphemistically adverb. ORIGIN Greek euph mismos, from eu well + ph m… …   English terms dictionary

  • euphemism — [yo͞o′fə miz΄əm] n. [Gr euphēmismos < euphēmizein, to use words of good omen < euphēmos, of good sound or omen < eu (see EU ) + phēmē, speech < phanai, say: see BAN1] 1. the use of a word or phrase that is less expressive or direct… …   English World dictionary

  • Euphemism — A euphemism is a substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener, [ [http://www.merriam webster.com/dictionary/Euphemism Euphemism] Webster s Online… …   Wikipedia

  • euphemism — UK [ˈjuːfəˌmɪzəm] / US [ˈjufəˌmɪzəm] noun [countable] Word forms euphemism : singular euphemism plural euphemisms linguistics a word or expression that people use when they want to talk about something unpleasant or embarrassing without… …   English dictionary

  • euphemism — [[t]ju͟ːfəmɪzəm[/t]] euphemisms N COUNT: oft N for n A euphemism is a polite word or expression that is used to refer to things which people may find upsetting or embarrassing to talk about, for example sex, the human body, or death. The term… …   English dictionary

  • euphemism — euphemist, n. euphemistic, euphemistical, euphemious /yooh fee mee euhs/, adj. euphemistically, euphemiously, adv. /yooh feuh miz euhm/, n. 1. the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or… …   Universalium

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