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Monday, June 9, 2014

Euphemisms hide reality

Euphemisms have a place in human discourse but not when they obscure moral truth
By: Msgr. Charles Pope

One of the subtleties of language is the use of euphemisms. A euphemism is the use of a less offensive synonym, word or phrase in place of another term that might be considered too direct, harsh, unpleasant, or offensive. It substitutes an agreeable or inoffensive expression in place of one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant. The word comes from the Greek euphēmismos: from eu (auspicious, good, pleasant), + phēmē speech.

In many cases euphemisms are harmless, even rooted in a kind of charity and a desire not to offend unnecessarily. For example we may say that someone has passed away, or departed, rather than say they died. (...)

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