Euphemisms, on the other hand, are used to obfuscate the actual meaning of a word. For example, intercourse is a synonym for sex, while diddle is a euphemism.
Today’s English is loaded with euphemisms for delicate subjects. They’re often used in polite society to avoid appearing uncivilized. But don’t confuse them with synonyms. A synonym is a word replacement that has the same or very similar meaning to the original word. They are often used to enrich prose and clarify meaning. Euphemisms, on the other hand, are used to obfuscate the actual meaning of a word. For example, intercourse is a synonym for sex, while diddle is a euphemism.
It can be difficult to understate the “true” meaning of a euphemism unless it’s been widely used over a long period. Eventually, euphemisms lose their impact like a punch-drunk fighter, which of course is a simile.
Benjamin Franklin was a student of many intellectual disciplines, language being one of them. In the 1730s he published a list of 227 euphemisms and 1 synonym for a common vice of his day. The vice is as common now as it was then but tolerated better today. I’ve shared twenty of the euphemistic phrases and words below–the synonym would have let the cat out of the bag: metaphor. Can you identify the vice?
- Has killed a dog
- Prince Eugene
- Frogs for breakfast
- Got a kick in the gut
- Got kibed heels
- Makes indentures with his legs
- Seen a flock of moons
- Smelt an onion
- Like a rat in trouble
- Burnt his shoulder
- Makes Virginia fame
There is a subtle, some might say obscure, hint in the opening. If you want the answer, post your guess in the comment field here or on Facebook, and I’ll let you know if you’re correct.
(c) 2017 David P. Cantrell
By David P. Cantrell I hate having a damaged wheelchair. I hate getting the run-around from vendors. I hate relying on a doctor I barely know. I love being alive. I love having mobility. I love knowing someone will fix it. I love believing in others, even strangers. Life is good, but it can be […]
When I saw this meme, posted by a Trump supported as a humorous slap against recent revelations by his victims, I was inspired to add my fictional take on how he would respond.
Have you every wonder what would happen if you played along with a spammer? I did. When a friend’s Facebook account was hacked last year I responded. The spammer sent me a private message that started innocently enough, but the first response told me I wasn’t communicating with the Chris I knew. A transcript of what ensued follows.
8/18, 7:19pm (Note: Originally, my friends profile picture and name appeared. FB changed the information when the hacked account was removed.)Facebook User
Federal Government and World Bank is doing this to reduce unemployment and secure economy stability also eradicate poverty in the country, to help the retired, unemployed, disabled, and to help the whole country and worldwide in general. I got my funds delivered to me with the help of an agent in-charge.. Do you have his Fb contact or Text phone # or email, should i give it to you now?
Susan Carol Schwab is the manager in-charge text them on (980) 262-0771 you can mail them as well email@example.com and tell them that you are ready so that they can bring your own money to you at home too
Susan Carol Schwab is the manager in-charge text them on (980) 262-0771 you can mail them as well firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them that you are ready so that they can bring your own money to you at home too (Note: I didn’t repeated the original by mistake.)
The spammer’s command of the English language lent credibility to his claim of California residency, but no American would say “100K USD.” I’m pretty sure he was lying.
Before you shake your head at the spammer’s stupidity, give thought to the idea that enough people must fall for the con job to make it worth his while. That prospect is frightening. It’s no wonder Trump is doing well.
Valentine’s Day: A day to express your feelings for someone special.
Or is it?
For too many it’s a lonely day full of regret or remorse. A day focused on what others have, but they have not. The neighbor that lost his long-time wife or the co-worker that recently broke-up may stoically accept their fate with a smile or a nod, but silently pine for the sense of acceptance that a loved one had provided.
Loved ones may come in many forms. The five-year-old that shares his heart shaped cookie with an elderly neighbor is a wonderful loved one. So too, the waitress that hands out candy hearts with their silly entreats to her regulars. We can all be loved ones even when we feel unloved.
If Valentine’s Day is not what you want it to be, be a loved one for someone else. You’ll not be sorry.
(c) David P. Cantrell 2016