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Sep 30, 2010
This week's theme
Words related to censorship

This week's words
fatwa
custos morum
excommunicate
euphemism
samizdat

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

euphemism

PRONUNCIATION:
(YOO-fuh-miz-em)

MEANING:
noun: Use of a mild, neutral, evasive, or vague term in place of one considered taboo, offensive, blunt, or unpleasant.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek euphemismos, from euphemos (auspicious), from eu- (good) + pheme (speaking).

EXAMPLES:
collateral damage for civilian casualties
second-hand for used
pre-owned for second-hand
pre-loved for pre-owned
budget for cheap
pass (away) for die
sanitation worker for garbage collector/janitor
convivial for drunken
The opposite of euphemism is dysphemism.

USAGE:
"Two-and-a-half months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the notorious Executive Order 9066. As a result, more than 110,000 Japanese, virtually all the Japanese-Americans on the mainland, were 'evacuated to concentration camps' in remote parts of America's mountain states. The words were his, though they were soon replaced in official parlance by the euphemism, 'reception centres'."
The Consequences of Terror, Japanese Internment in America (book review); The Economist (London); Sep 22, 2001.

See more usage examples of euphemism in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half of the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it. -Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)

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