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.
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?