“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, euphemism is used to make things sound better and 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, types, examples and more!
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Use of Euphemism
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?
Types of Euphemism
The most common types of euphemism used in writing are :
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.
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.
Examples of Euphemism
- The car isn’t used- it’s certified pre-owned.
- She isn’t sick- she’s under the weather.
- He’s not poor- he’s economically disadvantaged.
- He didn’t break up with her- he needed some space.
- She’s not a liar- she’s just creative with the truth.
- Passed away instead of dying.
- Let go instead of fire
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