Euphemism— using neutral or pleasant terms in place of offensive or negative terms— has been mentioned multiple times on this blog.

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Most people, though, have never heard of dysphemism, which is the opposite practice: using harsh or negative terms in place of neutral or positive language.

To refer to dying as “passing away” or “graduating to heaven” is euphemism.
To refer to it as “kicking the bucket” or “carking it” is dysphemism.

To refer to having a cold as “being under the weather” is euphemism.
To refer to it as “having the plague” is dysphemism.

English is full of examples of dysphemism. What’s your favourite?
Alternatively, is there one you really dislike?

#language #EnglishLanguage #blog

Clear communication.

A conversation overheard today, in my office, between two English teachers:

Teacher A: “I’m looking for my blue ribbon. I was sure I left it in here, but I can’t find it. Looks like I’m going to have to go to the shops.”

Teacher B: “Oh! I have blue ribbon!”

Teacher A: “Oh! What kind?”

Teacher B: “You know… riboon…”

Teacher A: “And what colour?”

Teacher B: “Blue…”

Teacher A: “How much have you got?”

Teacher B: “I dunno, a length…”

Me: “You two ought to be teachers. You’ve really got that communication thing going on.”

Teacher A: “If you tell anyone about this… I’ll…”

Me: *smiles innocently*
*opens laptop to write blog entry*