Guide to Literary Terms

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Euphemism

A euphemism is a softer or less direct expression that has been substituted for an unpleasant, rude, or offensive term.

Correct examples:

  • “Passed away” or “in a better place” for “died”

    • Euphemisms almost always take the form of stock expressions or widely recognized phrases.

  • “Let go” for “fired” or “collateral damage” for civilian casualties

    • A true euphemism is recognizable without context; no matter what the surrounding words are, everyone will know what you mean.

Incorrect example:

  • “The discomfort of the three-hour dental procedure was difficult to forget.”

    • Be careful not to confuse all polite or...

(The entire section is 198 words.)