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.