Can it be called an euphemism?

Hello everybody

If my house is very small like my cousin’s. During a conversation with my friend I tell him, " You are aware that my house is only as big as my cousin’s. " My friend says, " As big as or as small as?" I answer, " I was just using euphemism."

I want to know, if literally speaking, could it really be called a euphemism because after all I was putting some harsh reality in milder words…?



Hi Tom

No, I don’t really think that would qualify as a euphemism.

What do you think about this:
He’s pushing up daisies.
Do you think that would be a euphemism? :lol:


Dear Amy

What I have read about metaphor is that:

" Putting something harsh in indirect words so that the meaning remains the same but it sounds…"

Looking from this definition’s point of view my I was just wondering if my example could be a euphemism. After all “indirect words” give us a lot of liberty, don’t they? :smiley:

Instead of saying to someone:

1- Your dress is very dirty. (I say)
1- Your dress is not that clean.

Why can’t it be a euphemism when some harsh thing is being wrapped by something mild? :smiley:

Tom (waiting for your answer)

Hi Tom

Euphemisms are often metaphors (you should like that ;)).

OK, maybe your examples are at least euphemistic, but the examples don’t seem “harsh enough” to me and then also the “euphemistic version” doesn’t seem quite obscure enough. :lol:

Going back to your first example:

What if you lived in a dark, damp cave (a harsh place to live) and then you told someone that you lived in a naturally humidified stone dwelling with indirect lighting ? :lol:


Dear Tom, there is no necessity to call it an euphemism.There is no effect that can be achieved from my point of view:D

Actually, a discussion of euphemisms would fit Pamela’s stylistics suggestion very nicely, wouldn’t it?

As Tom said, euphemisms are used in order to talk about something harsh. We use them to talk about taboo or offensive topics, or to make a topic less embarrassing or disturbing. The offending words or ideas are usually replaced with much more obscure or indirect words and expressions. Euphemisms are often metaphors.

Certain ideas or topics are euphemized much more frequently than others. In English there are many well-known euphemisms for dead. “He’s pushing up daisies” is just one of them. And all languages seem to have euphemisms. The Germans, for example, talk about radishes instead of daisies in their equivalent euphemism for “pushing up daisies”.

We’ve recently had some discussion about “politically correct” language (in a different thread). A politically correct expression would also be a type of euphemism. But I think this type of euphemism is “artificial”. Maybe that’s why they’ve been termed “politically correct” rather than simply being called euphemisms. :smiley:

Coming back to Tom’s question about “it’s not as big as” and “it’s not very clean”, these formats are quite typical in English. The “it’s not very + (positive adjective)” format is very often used because it often sounds “better” or less blunt than saying “it’s + (negative adjective)”. So, in that respect, I guess it is mildly euphemistic. But, as I said, I don’t think these types of expressions would be true euphemisms. The language is much too clear to be called a euphemism, in my opinion. :lol:

Pamela and Tom, what else have you heard or learned about euphemisms? What do you think of euphemistic language? Do you have any “favorite” euphemisms?


Thank you, Amy a lot

I was really able to distinguish between a “euphemism” and "euphemistically said… "

Evers yours


Hey, folks!

You should say a euphemism, not an euphemism. The word euphemism starts with a consonant, so it is preceded by a, just like the word university, which also starts with a consonant.

Hi Jamie

Do you think the title of the thread should be changed?