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euphemism (noun): mild or pleasant language used instead of language that is unpleasant or offensive, for example pass away instead of die

Euphemism Examples

Sometimes we want to use language that is not direct. Perhaps we don't want to hurt somebody. Or we are afraid they will be offended by language they see as "rude". Perhaps the subject matter is culturally taboo.

For example, if we are talking to someone whose parent has just died, we could well use pass away instead of die:

I was sorry to hear that your mother passed away last week.

Here are some more examples of euphemistic language:

direct language euphemistic language
I hear that you're pregnant. I hear that you're expecting.
It's a UN programme for poor families. It's a UN programme for underprivileged families.
She's just gone to the toilet. She's just gone to wash her hands.
You're dismissed. I'm afraid I'm going to have to let you go.

See many more examples of euphemism here.

Note that the word euphemism can be countable or uncountable.

euphemism (uncountable): the use of a mild or pleasant expression instead of an expression that may be unpleasant or offensive. Example: Euphemism is quite common in English.

euphemism (countable): A mild or pleasant expression used in this way. Example: The expressions "pass away", "pass on" and "pass" are all euphemisms for "die".