April 25, 2011

A euphemism is a polite word or expression used in place of a blunder one in order to avoid giving offence. In English some subjects are considered too personal, sensitive or taboo. People usually avoid mentioning these things by their proper name and instead use a humorous expression that is less offensive.

There are numerous euphemisms in English. Here are some of them.

Euphemisms that refer to death

Pass away

His grandmother has passed away.

Pushing up the daisies

Old Tom is pushing up the daisies. (= Old Tom is dead.)

Fight a long battle with

He fought a long battle with cancer before he finally succumbed.

Six feet under

You will have nothing to worry about when you are six feet under.

Popped one’s clogs

Old Tom popped his clogs last year.

Kick the bucket

Joe has finally kicked the bucket.

Euphemisms that refer to euthanasia

Put down

We put our cat down with a heavy heart. (= We subjected our cat to mercy killing.)

Euphemisms that refer to the bath room

Restroom, ladies / gents, public conveniences, the bog etc.

He is in the bog.

Where is the restroom?


In the family way

She is in the family way. (= She is pregnant.)

She is carrying.

She is expecting.

She has a bun in the oven.

We will learn about more euphemisms in a later post.