Euphemisms


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Euphemisms

 

blankety-blank See PROFANITY.

dickens See PROFANITY.

love-brat A child born out of wedlock; a bastard. This obsolete expression, the equivalent of the modern love-child, appeared in the 17th-century Old Chapbook:

Now by this four we plainly see Four love brats will be laid to thee: And she that draws the same shall wed

Two rich husbands, and both well bred.

pillars to the temple British slang for a woman’s legs. The sexual allusion in this coy euphemism is obvious.

pooper-scooper A shovellike device used to daintily pick up the feces of dogs or other pets. The expression, as well as the devices, has become especially popular since the mid-1970s when New York and other cities enacted laws requiring dog owners to clean up after their pets.

Sam Hill Hell. The person to whom this euphemistic expletive apparently refers is unknown. The Random House Dictionary suggests that Sam may be derived from salmon, a variation of Sal(o)mon ‘an oath,’ and that Hill may be a variation of hell The term usually appears in expressions like “What the …,” “Who the …,”etc.

He wondered who the Sam Hill the “senator” was. (Salt Lake [City, Utah] Tribune, December 18, 1948)

see a man about a dog To go to the men’s room; to go out for a drink; to visit a prostitute. This slang Americanism appears to have been coined in the mid-to-late 19th century as a Victorian euphemism to avoid direct reference to bodily functions or frowned-upon activities.

Although they were all out, at the bases, and the rest of our nine having gone to see a man, there was nobody to take the bat. (The Ball Players’ Chronicle, September 12, 1867)

The appearance in print of the inverted see a dog about a man and the variant see a man about a horse attests to the nonsensicalness of the original expression.

I’m in a rush—gotta see a dog about a man. (Chicago Tribune, March 21, 1948)

See a man about a dog is also used as an evasive response to almost any inconvenient or embarrassing question.

son of a gun An evil person, a miscreant; a rogue, scamp, or scalawag; any person; a disagreeable or odious task or other matter; as an interjection, an exclamation of surprise, disappointment, or dismay. It has been suggested that son of a gun originated during the 18th century when nonmilitary women were permitted to live aboard naval ships. When one of these women gave birth to a child without knowing which of the sailors had fathered it, the paternity was logged as “gun” and the child as “son of a gun,” alluding either to the sexual implications of gun or to the mid-ship gun which was located near the makeshift maternity room. In any case, the expression is a popular and somewhat less offensive alternative to son of a bitch, which also intimates that a person is of uncertain paternity and that his mother was less than virtuous. Over the years, however, both expressions have lost much of their derogatory connotations and are often applied in jocular and familiar contexts.

References in classic literature ?
boss = Cooper was annoyed by American euphemisms, such as using the Dutch word "boss" in place of "master"--a custom he blamed largely on New England "Yankees"}
Philip laughed savagely as he thought of her gentility and the refinement with which she ate her food; she could not bear a coarse word, so far as her limited vocabulary reached she had a passion for euphemisms, and she scented indecency everywhere; she never spoke of trousers but referred to them as nether garments; she thought it slightly indelicate to blow her nose and did it in a deprecating way.
The in ability to say this, and the resentment which results therefrom, he regards as the source of all our feelings of revenge, and all our desires to punish--punishment meaning to him merely a euphemism for the word revenge, invented in order to still our consciences.
Then beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity,--I mean the true simplicity of a rightly and nobly ordered mind and character, not that other simplicity which is only an euphemism for folly?
Seeing him thus quadrupedal in the grass, the priest raised his eyebrows rather sadly; and for the first time guessed that "fancies things" might be an euphemism.
It was something of a euphemism to call him a well-known man about town.
This paper examines the euphemisms used in selected Bagusii dirges and how they reflect the ideologies and the general worldview of the community.
Here are my top three therapeutic euphemisms, terms that appear to offer acceptable, often mollifying explanations but which usually disguise more than they convey: stress, frustration, and control.
Allow me to enlighten those who continue to perpetuate ignorant conclusions and continue to use the euphemisms that would never be tolerated by any other ethnic group.
Special attention is given to sources from the eastern part of the Islamic world dating to the fourth/tenth and the fifth/eleventh centuries, and to the taboo topics and types of euphemisms they disclose.
WE have been treated to some sickening euphemisms in the last decade or so, such as "ethnic cleansing" for genocide, "friendly fire" for fatal negligence by ones allies, "collateral damage" for premeditated killing of civilians and "rendition" for handing over suspects to regimes where torture is commonplace.
Noun-noun Euphemisms in the Language of the Global Financial Crisis