A euphemism is a word that is substituted for another word or expression that might otherwise be offensive or unpleasant. Euphemisms are often amusing or are meant to mislead. An idiom is similar to a euphemism but instead usually carries a figurative meaning rather than a literal meaning. Idioms are also more often groups of words or an expression.
There are many examples of both literary terms throughout the chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird. Here are a few from Chapters 22-25.
- Alexandra substitutes the word "cynical" for another unnamed word. (Chapter 22)
- Scout describes the kitchen table as being loaded with "enough food to bury the family." (Chapter 22)
- The word "colored" when referring to Tom Robinson could be considered a euphemism if it was meant to substitute for the "N" word, for example, but there is no evil intent upon Atticus' part when he says it. (Chapter 22)
- Scout threatens to "flung a fit." (Chapter 23)
- Atticus uses the terms "shadow of a doubt" and "square deal." (Chapter 23)
- Jem and Scout use the words "yap" and "yappy." (Chapter 23)
- Alexandra refers to Walter Cunningham Jr. as "trash." (Chapter 23)
- Mrs. Merriweather uses the word "darky." (Chapter 24)
- Aunt Alexandra uses the term "the last straw." (Chapter 24)