What's in a Word | All Blogs


Delicately speaking

By Debra Dobbins

It’s the bare truth: What makes the Frank & Earnest comic strip funny today is the euphemism “birthday suit.” Fortunately, not all of one character’s expansive birthday suit is on display.

A euphemism is a polite or positive way of expressing something. Its first two letters, eu, mean good or well.

As a child, I was brainwashed with euphemisms. I was taught to say, “It’s snowin’ down South” if a friend’s slip was showing. I thought it was daring to say pregnant instead of “in the family way.” Someone with cancer had “the big C.” When someone died, he or she “passed away.” (Our pastor always gave a eulogy.)

In some ways, though, we used plain language. My parents bought used cars, never “pre-owned vehicles.” The man who cleaned my high school was a janitor, not a “custodian,” but everyone still respected him. Students did not get “held back.” They flunked a grade.

Euphemisms can be polite, but they can also deceive. Governments can use them to conceal reality, such as when a war is termed a “police action.” In Hitler’s Germany the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" became horrifying doublespeak for the torture and murder of millions of Jews. Their deaths could not remotely be considered euthanasia. Many died—in their birthday suits--in gas chambers.

The English poet Alexander Pope noted that for every virtue there is a vice. While euphemisms can sound humorous and/or virtuous, it is important to understand what they really mean.
 

COMMENTS

Please Login or Register to leave a comment.

I think this is a better than average article. You make this data intriguing and locks in. You give perusers a ton to consider and I welcome that sort of composing.    Language of Desire

There’s always a way to say things, but you’ve got to be clear. That is what the ghost writer emphasizes on. If you’re not specific, then you’re not conveying your message.




Recent Posts
KNOWING BIRDERS…AND PHOTOGRAPHERS…AND OWL PROWLS
By Nic.Korte
Saturday, June 3, 2017

LOUDY-SIMPSON MIGRANT TRAP
By Nic.Korte
Sunday, May 14, 2017

TIME FOR A CHAT (A DOUBLE ENTENDRE FOR EARTH DAY)
By Nic.Korte
Sunday, April 23, 2017

WISDOM’S WISDOM OR HUMAN WISDOM?
By Nic.Korte
Friday, April 7, 2017

Tech Education a Must for Tech-Starved Mesa County
By David Goe
Friday, March 31, 2017


TOP JOBS




THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
Advertiser Tearsheet
Information

© 2017 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy