In one of my classes this week, we got into small groups to discuss the assigned reading for that particular class period. The word “euphemism” came up in mine. I was horribly embarrassed because, try as I did, I could not remember what this word meant. I couldn’t even think of an example of one, though I have used the word before.
It didn’t help that I was in a group with two of the smartest, well-informed people in the entire class. For that particular strain of conversation, I was absolutely useless at contributing except to chime in with backchanneling (ex. “uh huh”, “mmm”) or a word of agreement or disagreement, things that I wouldn’t have to back up or explain.
Needless to say, I ran right home and consulting webster.com.
euphemism: the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant.
Now I’m armed and looking for opportunities to use it. Beware.