Euphemism: Meaning, Uses, Types

6 minute read
Euphemism Definition, Uses and Exercises

Euphemism: “Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne” – Quentin Crisp. It is an indirect way of expressing something. While talking about sensitive subjects or something that might be rude, taboo or upsetting, the English language, figures of speech, called Euphemism is used to make things sound better. Most importantly, making things sound sarcastic or less offensive. Euphemism comes from a Greek word that means the use of ‘words of good omen’. Here’s everything you need to know about Euphemism, meaning, types, examples and more!

Meaning of Euphemism

Euphemisms are words or phrases that can be used to convey unpleasant, depressing, or prohibited information. It is the art of saying things in a way that is less obnoxious, lighter, or in a more subtle way.

Must Read: Antonyms: 500+ Antonym words You Should Explore!

Why should you Learn Euphemism?

You should study euphemisms since they make you sound worried about someone or an incident that has happened. When employing euphemisms, it’s important to keep in mind that they’re not meant to be ironic. Before utilizing a euphemism in a conversation, you should also make it a point to grasp what each one means.

Also Read: 500+ Most Commonly Used Idioms in English: Meaning and Examples

Use of Euphemism

It’s usually helpful to have multiple ways to convey any given piece of information. Nobody is ever forced to deal with only good things. There will occasionally be terrible incidents and undesirable thoughts to discuss. You should develop the ability to present even terrible ideas in a pleasant and acceptable way. However, given below are some reasons of use of Euphemism in communication.


Euphemisms are used for a variety of reasons, depending on the context and goal. Euphemisms are frequently used to avoid explicitly discussing things that could be considered bad or embarrassing, such as death, physical intercourse or excretory bodily processes. They can be made for good intentions or for sinister and cynical reasons, with the intent to deceive and confuse.


Euphemisms are also employed to minimize, soften, or minimize the severity of large-scale injustices, war crimes, or other occurrences that require a pattern of avoidance in official comments or documentation. For example, “directives for the extermination process shrouded in bureaucratic euphemisms” is one reason for the relative scarcity of written documentation recording the exterminations at Auschwitz, despite their vast number. Sometimes euphemisms are also employed to soften resistance to a political initiative.


When euphemism is used as a rhetorical device, the purpose is to shift the valence of a description.

Also Read: What are Adverbs?

When Not to Use Euphemism?

Since euphemisms are inherently evasive, they shouldn’t be used in circumstances when plain language would be more appropriate. However, Euphemisms should not be used to intentionally mislead or deceive people. If a euphemism is used to obscure the truth or hide important information, it can be unethical and harmful. In cases of emergencies or safety hazards, euphemisms can cause confusion or delay appropriate action. For example, in a fire alarm situation, saying “There’s a little smoke” when there is a significant fire can be dangerous.

Types of Euphemism

The most common types of euphemism used in writing are listed below for ypur easy reference. Check the types of Euphemism one can use: 


Impoliteness is commonly viewed as a social taboo, which is why euphemisms are used to mitigate the severity of a situation. Politeness is a conversational construct that reduces the frequency of improper language answers. It is regarded as a matter of good manners and serves to make all parties involved in the conversation more comfortable and spontaneous.


Diplomatic debate is a true art form. Negotiation skills, anxiety, and strategic thinking are all required as well as euphemisms. It’s easy to see why euphemisms deserve such a prominent place in politics, given their role as acceptable substitutes for potentially divisive words or phrases. Diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions, as Winston Churchill put it.

In order to succeed in this field, you must learn to utilize words in new ways, giving them new meanings in the context of international politics. It’s almost as if you can speak another language, which is why authors should study it as well.


You’ll have to utilize so-called white lies on a regular basis to disguise unpleasant realities (more or less) smoothly. We employ euphemisms like these to keep the issue under control, mostly to avoid emotional outbursts. For example, we frequently say “before I depart” rather than “before I die,” which has a more soothing sense.

It’s a common language solution that may be found in both regular interactions and literary works. When we say “pregnancy termination” instead of “abortion” or “casualties of war” instead of  “dead,” we are abstracting well-known facts.


Litotes is a figure of speech that uses understatements to emphasize the exact opposite of the actual situation. It is one of the writers’ favourites. Despite its complexity, litotes is simple to explain using examples: not particularly brilliant – dumb; not a prom queen – ugly; not bad at all – fantastic. It’s all about the irony in this case because the writers aren’t trying to make fun of anything. On the contrary, they are more vividly communicating new traits or thoughts in this manner. The new detail will scarcely go ignored by Litotes.

Spin Euphemism

If you work in public relations, you should be familiar with spin euphemisms. These are used to create profit-generating confusion, confuse consumers, or sway public opinion. Spin is probably the most dangerous type of euphemism, but it is certainly not the least common. It is frequently used by politicians and corporations. It minimizes unwanted repercussions by downplaying the negative characteristics of a product, idea, or event. When it comes to firing people, for example, firms frequently use the term “rationalization.”

It is not, however, strictly tied to economics or politics; individuals all around you utilize it all the time. When trying to persuade a publisher that his or her new book is fantastic, say something like, “There is currently no other book that covers what my book covers” or something like. That is correct, but a meaningless spin. 

Dialogue Completion Concept, Examples & Questions

Examples of Euphemism

Check the mentioned below examples of the, Euphemism:

  1. The car isn’t used- it’s certified pre-owned. 
  2. She isn’t sick- she’s under the weather.
  3. He’s not poor- he’s economically disadvantaged. 
  4. He didn’t break up with her- he needed some space. 
  5. She’s not a liar- she’s just creative with the truth. 
  6. Passed away instead of dying. 
  7. Let go instead of fire


What does the word ‘euphemism’ mean?

Euphemisms are words or phrases that can be used to convey unpleasant, depressing, or prohibited information. It is the art of saying things in a way that is less obnoxious, lighter, or in a more What does the word ‘euphemism’ mean?
subtle way.

Why use euphemisms?

The basic purpose of euphemism is to make something appear or sound less difficult or unpleasant than it actually is.

When not to use Euphemism?

Euphemisms are an inherently indirect way of speaking, so they should not be used in a situation where straightforward language is required.

We hope this blog has helped you to understand everything related to Euphemism. Preparing for English proficiency tests like IELTS or TOEFL? Our Leverage Live mentors are here to provide you with the best preparation guidance to achieve your dream score! Sign up for a free demo session with Leverage Edu now!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *