The UVic Writer's Guide


Euphemism


Euphemism is the use of roundabout language to replace colloquial terms that are considered too blunt or unpleasant.

Some common subjects which attract euphemisms are God (when oaths are modified, as when "God damn!" becomes "darn!"); death ("passed away" replaces "died"); sex (as in the Elizabethan use of "French velvet" for "prostitute"); and bodily functions (as in Gulliver's "natural Necessities" in Swift's Gulliver's Travels). Shoot, you can provide your own flipping list.


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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated September 23, 1995