The Ultimate Guide to Euphemisms
Disclaimer: This guide includes A LOT of vulgar language. If you are offended by this kind of thing, then this is probably not the article for you. In fact, if you find this offensive, you should probably check out a different English learning site that doesn't teach you real English the way that native speakers really talk.
Ah, euphemisms. One of those snobby linguistic terms that you never bothered to learn in language courses. I know you are probably thinking to yourself, "What is a euphemism again? Isn't it like a metaphor or something?" Don't worry, all will be explained in due time.
This Ultimate Guide will give you:

  • A comprehensive explanation of what euphemisms are.
  • Convince you as to why they are so important to your English fluency.
  • Tools and tactics to use them in your everyday speech and sound more like a native.
What is a euphemism?
Euphemisms are expressions used to soften or make an unpleasant or offensive phrases more acceptable in everyday speech.

You can of them as friendly versions of words or phrases that are generally deemed offensive or unacceptable in everyday society.

You are probably unfamiliar with the term because we use them ALL OF THE TIME. They are ubiquitous in the English language.

Just to get you started, here are some common examples:

  • Passed away or departed instead of dead.
  • Laid off instead of fired.
  • Sleep together instead of have sex.
  • Economically disadvantaged instead of poor.
  • Mentally challenged instead of retarded.
  • Enhanced interrogation methods instead of torture.
  • Going to the restroom instead of taking a piss.
You get the idea, right? Euphemisms are just nice little ways of describing things that for whatever reason society has deemed impolite or unacceptable.

Sometimes they hide the truth. Sometimes they make difficult situations a little more digestible. Sometimes they turn negative situations into positive ones. Sometimes they simply make it easier to talk to people without sounding like an impolite asshole.

If you're interested learning more about euphemisms, I recommend checking out George Carlin's famous speech before continuing. It will give you much more context about the controversial nature and importance of euphemisms in everyday language.
George Carlin
Euphemisms
"You can't be afraid of words that speak the truth. I don't like words that hide the truth. I don't like words that conceal reality. I don't like euphemisms or euphemistic language. And American english is loaded with euphemisms. Because Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent a kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it. And it gets worse with every generation. For some reason it just keeps getting worse."
-George Carlin

Business Euphemisms
One of the most common places we see euphemisms is in the workplace. At the end of the day, business is about making money. Yet, for some reason you rarely hear the word "money" used in business contexts. Instead, we talk about generating revenue, salaries, profit margins etc.

If you really want to speak like a native in the world of business, you have to master the art of talking bullshit, I mean, business conversation.

Let's take a look at some examples:

Euphemism involving money:

Generating revenue
Profit
Income
Salary
Capital
Wage
Funds
Payments
Finance
Financial Resources
Wealth
Investments
Interests
Stock
Currency
Euphemisms for rich:

Wealthy
Well-to-do
Well-off
Does well for himself (herself).
loaded
rolling in it
on easy street

Euphemisms for poor:

Underprivileged
Underserved
Low-income
Humble
Less fortunate
Needy
In need
Economically disadvantaged
Low-income
Marginalized
To get fired:

Laid off
To let someone go
To terminate
Downsize
Restructure
Released
Canned
Axed
Dismissed
Discharged
To quit

Resign
Go separate ways
Leave the company
Pursue other options
Give notice
Give resignation
Change career paths
To be unemployed:

On the job hunt
In between jobs
Underemployed
Out of work
Out of a job
Seeking employment
Without gainful employment
Boss (someone high up in the company)

Supervisor
Manager
Superior
Executive
Authority (on a subject)
Director
Head (of department)
Leader
Chair
Low level worker (someone in a lower position in the company)

Secretary
Administrative Assistant
Personal Assistant
Junior Team Member
Subordinate
Colleague
Right-hand man
Apprentice
Fellow worker
Coworker
Intern
Receptionist
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