Meaning of euphemism in English:


Pronunciation /ˈjuːfɪmɪz(ə)m/

See synonyms for euphemism

Translate euphemism into Spanish


  • A mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.

    The opposite of dysphemism

    ‘the jargon has given us ‘downsizing’ as a euphemism for cuts’
    • ‘As a practical matter, the current legal regime substitutes palliative euphemisms for useful controls on police discretion.’
    • ‘Languages are constantly developing euphemisms for sex words.’
    • ‘Sir John could be counted on not to speak in mild euphemisms.’
    • ‘He appeared his boldest; he was not one to speak in mild euphemisms.’
    • ‘Each drawn shoe is accompanied by a blunt euphemism from the history of conflict.’
    • ‘Such mild, culinary euphemisms muffled and camouflaged the enforced famines and the murders of millions.’
    • ‘She wants to reclaim the word old and rejects euphemisms like elderly and seniors.’
    • ‘It shows that the trend to hide unpleasant truths behind euphemisms is alive and well.’
    • ‘It was like a euphemism for a dirty word, he'd rather people'd just said the word than try to make it seem nicer.’
    • ‘As I remember, it was shortly after the word gay became the euphemism for homosexual.’
    • ‘I don't like euphemisms or euphemistic language.’
    • ‘Ratios are now commonly being used as euphemisms to express calamity.’
    • ‘‘Environmental design’ is just one of the many euphemisms for the ubertrendy catch words Feng Shui.’
    • ‘We have lots of euphemisms for menstruation, and we don't refer to it unless in the company of women, and rarely even then.’
    • ‘Women are more likely to use polite euphemisms for topics such as death and sex.’
    • ‘A simple chat with her could be downright frustrating when she didn't understand half of the euphemisms being used.’
    • ‘Reform is a polite euphemism for forcing banks to close out bad loans, enforce bankruptcy and require layoffs of excess workers.’
    • ‘Instead, they hide behind a wall of euphemisms, refusing even to use the word ‘disabled’.’
    • ‘Notably, the word ‘challenge’ was used as a euphemism to gloss over the existence of serious problems.’
    polite term, substitute, mild alternative, indirect term, understatement, underplaying, softening, politeness, genteelism, coy term
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Late 16th century from Greek euphēmismos, from euphēmizein ‘use auspicious words’, from eu ‘well’ + phēmē ‘speaking’.