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From Teflpedia

A euphemism /ˈju:.fə.mɪzm/ is a word or phrase used to avoid referring to something considered unpleasant or embarrassing.

A euphemism for "euphemism" is "parliamentary language.”

Common euphemisms[edit | edit source]

Commonly, sexual and excretory activities and related body parts are especially referred to using euphemisms:

Word/phrase Euphemism
drunk tired and emotional (and many others)
defecate (verb) use the loo
vulva front bottom
WC (water closet) toilet/lavatoryBrE
WC bathroom/restroom/powder roomAmE
civilian deaths collateral damageAmE
in jail doing time (and many others)
making a loss negative growth

Euphemisms and politically correct language[edit | edit source]

The distinction between euphemisms and politically correct language may not always be clear - for example referring to people with disabilities as “differently abled.”

Register[edit | edit source]

Looked at from another angle all the above could simply be regarded as examples of different registers. To take one of the examples above: defecate - go to the toilet. One could also add the colloquial word “shit" to the group.

One could well imagine circumstances where the use of “defecate" would result in howls of laughter or at least raised eyebrows. In truth, all of these these words might be appropriate depending on the register being used by the speaker or writer.

References[edit | edit source]