Definition of euphemism in English:


Line breaks: eu¦phem|ism
Pronunciation: /ˈjuːfəmɪz(ə)m


A mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing: the jargon has given us ‘downsizing’ as a euphemism for cuts The opposite of dysphemism.
More example sentences
  • As a practical matter, the current legal regime substitutes palliative euphemisms for useful controls on police discretion.
  • Languages are constantly developing euphemisms for sex words.
  • Sir John could be counted on not to speak in mild euphemisms.
polite term, substitute, mild alternative, indirect term, understatement, underplaying, softening, politeness, genteelism, coy term


late 16th century: from Greek euphēmismos, from euphēmizein 'use auspicious words', from eu 'well' + phēmē 'speaking'.

Definition of euphemism in: