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מאת   24/01/2011 |  נצפה 2066 פעמים


Euphemisms are phrases used to express ideas that might otherwise be unpleasant to hear. For example "passed away", "kicked the bucket" and "pushing up the daisies" are all euphemisms that mean to die. Whereas "passed away" is used to show sensitivity and respect, the other 2 euphemisms are used in informal situations, sometimes with the intent of amusing people. Pay attention to the different connotations in the following sentences:


  1. I was so sad when I heard your father passed away. He was such a good man.
  2. The old lady from across the road finally kicked the bucket. We had started to lose hope!
  3.  I don't care if you keep smoking, you'll be the one pushing up the daisies at the age of 40, not me!


Sometimes euphemisms are unsuccessful attempts to cover up the truth. Consider the irony embedded deep within the following sentences:


  1. Our cat that we love so much is very sick, so we'll have to put her to sleep. We have no other choice.
  2. Putting stray dogs to sleep is the most humane thing to do.


Needless to say, animals usually don't wake up after being "put to sleep", but this euphemism makes killing sound much more pleasant, even humane. In addition, someone that is "between jobs" is actually unemployed; but this euphemism makes being out of work sound like a paid vacation.  


A toilet room is called a "rest-room", even though we don't really rest there and a strip club is sometimes called a "gentlemen's club", even though the men that go there aren't necessarily considered by most people to be gentlemen. "Making love" on the other hand is a euphemism used to add an emotional aspect to the otherwise physical act of having sex.  

So enjoy the many ways of expressing yourself in English, using the umpteen phrases, idioms and euphemisms this language has to offer, but don't mince your words; say what you mean!


Written by: Ishmael Ben-Israel



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