What are euphemisms? According to the textbook definition, a euphemism is a ‘mild, indirect or vague term used in place of a direct, harsh and likely offensive one.’
For example, suppose a relative of your friend expires. Do you say “I am sorry that your uncle is dead” or “I am sorry that your uncle passed away. My sincere condolences”?
If you are a devoted student of the English language and want to become an accomplished conversationalist, then you need to learn as many euphemisms as possible. Another good reason is that someone might mention a euphemism during a public speech, but you can’t figure out what the speaker actually intends to convey.
So here goes, a short list of all the useful euphemisms you should be aware of:
10. Between jobs
Meaning: Being unemployed
Example: Right now, Shalini is between jobs because of the adverse market situation.
9. On the streets
Example: The raging war left many people homeless in the Balkans region.
8. Not the sharpest pencil in the box
Meaning: A stupid person
Example: Shilpa could not be blamed for the mistake in the high profile project. She was anyway not the sharpest pencil in the box.
7. Let you go
Meaning: You’re fired
Example: Due to the fragile situation of the company, we will have to let you go.
6. Collateral damage
Meaning: When innocent people or schools, hospitals, and homes are destroyed in an attack
Example: The military assault on Gaza led to the deaths of many civilians, which was termed as collateral damage by the mainstream media.
5. Left a lot to be desired
Meaning: Bad and not up to the mark
Example: According to the client, the final software product left a lot to be desired.
4. Economically disadvantaged
Example: A large section of the Indian population can be termed as economically disadvantaged.
3. Visually challenged
Meaning: Blind or partially sighted
Example: There should be arrangements made for the visually challenged at all public places.
2. Didn’t make it
Example: Unfortunately, no member of the family could make it following the horrific car accident.
1. Call of nature
Meaning: The urge to urinate/defecate
Example: I seriously needed to attend the call of nature during the long trip to home.
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