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Sep 12, 2019
This week’s theme
There’s an antonym for it

This week’s words
eustress
nullibiety
excarnation
dysphemism
nocebo


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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

dysphemism

PRONUNCIATION:
(DIS-fuh-miz-em)

MEANING:
noun: The substitution of a harsher, deprecating, or offensive term in place of a relatively neutral term.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek dys- (bad) + -phemism (as in euphemism). Earliest documented use: 1884. The opposite is euphemism.

NOTES:
Examples include “death tax” for “estate tax” and “snail mail” for “paper mail”.

USAGE:
“If my soft touch there with ‘people seeking refuge’ seems too forgiving, take your pick of the wide array of dysphemisms already available for those fleeing violence and terror, from ‘anchor babies’ to ‘illegal aliens’ to the more grammatically efficient ‘illegals’-- which crams ‘them’ into a space-saving adjective.”
Michael Andor Brodeur; United States of Euphemism: ICE, Border Separations, and How Americans Say the Unspeakable; Boston Globe (Massachusetts); Jun 24, 2018.

See more usage examples of dysphemism in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on "I am not too sure." -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (12 Sep 1880-1956)

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