Euph … what?

I wanted to share some euphemisms (in German: ‘beschönigende Umschreibungen’) with you today. But first of all, I’d like to talk about why we use them. Well, there are certain topics we often don’t like talking about, because they make us feel uncomfortable. And to avoid using these rather harsh-sounding words, we choose to use more positive and polite-sounding words.

So instead of saying that you’ve lost your job and are out of work, you can say “you’re between jobs”. Or instead of saying that your pet died, you can say it “passed  away” or  “went to heaven”. And instead of saying that you’re off to the toilet, you can say that you want to “spend a penny” or “go to the little girls’ or boys’ room” or “the ladies or gents”.

Although I sometimes use the term “to spend a penny”, I would recommend that you avoid using euphemisms and that you express yourself as directly and clearly as possible.

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Written by Christine Burgmer

11. February 2016