Questions about harmless rewordings of potentially offensive words or phrases.

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29
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6answers
6k views

Less vulgar synonyms for “circlejerk”

Someone asked in the Math.StackExchange chatroom what a "more refined word for circlejerk" might be. UrbanDictionary defines this (in our desired usage) as: [...] pompous, self-congratulatory ...
14
votes
13answers
9k views

Euphemism for “There's more than one way to skin a cat”

Growing up in the 80s, I ended up hearing/using this phrase a lot whenever I wanted to express that there was more than one way to do something: "there's more than one way to skin a cat." I have ...
14
votes
2answers
499 views

Did people ever use the word “cock” as a euphemism for “God”?

English has a lot of surprises. When I was checking the etymology of "cocksure", I found this entry in Oxford Dictionaries: 1 British A male bird, especially of a domestic fowl. Below is ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

What are the polite and neutral versions of “cut the bull*’?

I was wondering what are the polite and neutral versions of cut the bullshit? Suppose one calls his mobile customer service for signal problem, but the representative endlessly tries to promote ...
12
votes
10answers
1k views

Euphemism for poo

In German, we call the result of one particular dump as well as the doing it itself sein Geschäft machen (to do a deal/business) This is common and fit for print. Is there something similar in ...
10
votes
11answers
2k views

Polite name for a prostitute [closed]

I have a character in a fiction I am writing. She's a prostitute but she takes great pride in her work. In the scene where she makes her first appearance, she does try and seduce one of the heroines ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Would sir like something for the weekend?

"Something for the weekend" is a euphemism heard in barber shops, when the above phrase is used to enquire of a customer whether he would like a packet of condoms. Does anyone know how this phrase ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

What's a non pejorative way of saying that a woman is bigger? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Euphemisms to replace “fat” In French you could say that a woman is plus en chair, plus ronde, which are not necessarily pejorative. How can I say the same ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

A more acceptable word to replace the word “rectum”?

I wrote in a short paragraph describing how a cartoon character, after being eaten up by a shark, swam through the shark's internal body and fled from its rectum. It was meant to be a ...
8
votes
3answers
8k views

Origin of the word “boner”

What is the origin of the word boner? Trying to find the roots for its prevalent usage, especially in North America. According to a dictionary it means an erect penis.
7
votes
2answers
509 views

Is “can't” a euphemism or is it ambiguous?

People often say can't to mean won't. I am not referring to lying, but in cases where it is very clear to the listener that the speaker intends to mean won't. For example: I can't continue in this ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a word to describe female between 'girl' and 'woman'?

I've been trying to find a word that describes someone that's older than a 'girl' but not yet a 'woman'. It seems the connotation of girl is an immature female that's still growing up. Whereas a woman ...
7
votes
1answer
274 views

Is “Jack of Christ” a common Britishism for Jesus Christ?

In his poem “If I Were Tickled By the Rub of Love”, Dylan Thomas refers to “Jack of Christ”: And what’s the rub? Death’s feather on the nerve? Your mouth, my love, the thistle in the kiss? My ...
7
votes
1answer
298 views

When was “ladyparts” first used to describe the genitalia of a woman?

When was the word ladyparts first used to describe the genitalia of a woman? I tried to look it up in the British National Corpus but it returned no results.
6
votes
8answers
2k views

Politically correct term for someone who is Internet challenged?

What is the politically correct term for someone who is not very Internet savvy?
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there an idiom or euphemism for when someone has an average/small penis but knows how to use it?

Really, what the question title states. In my language there's a more "flowery" phrase to say "size doesn't matter". It would roughly translate to "even a small clown can work in the big top" – I'm ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

Positive euphemisms for desert?

Looking on thesaurus.com I can find only synonyms for "desert" with negative connotations. Are there any synonyms with positive connotations? Specifically, something that invokes the sense of clean ...
6
votes
3answers
363 views

Professors and Students

When I was learning English back in school (in the nineties), there were pupils and teachers. Now there seem to be students and professors, where a "professor" can be anyone who happens to teach ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

I have questions coming out the yin-yang about yin-yang phrases!

Yin Yang is the Chinese philosophy of Light and Shadow, often signifying the need for balance or that everything exists in balance. But the (reasonably enjoyable to use) phrase Up the Ying Yang ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

French Letters and condoms

Repartee (inexact quote) from a TV show: Person A: Now, we're going to be getting some letters from French people. Person B: It could be worse. You might be getting French letters. (laughter) ...
6
votes
1answer
731 views

Is (or was) the exclamation “Nuts!” crude?

During the Battle of the Bulge, when asked to surrender, US General McAuliffe answered with the single word "Nuts!" I know that "nuts" can be a crude way to refer to testicles ("He got hit in the ...
5
votes
11answers
994 views

Substitute for F*** in emphasizing disbelief, anger, etc

How do I replace F*** while expressing fully my disbelief, anger, etc? E.g., "I think Homer Simpson is incredibly sexy" My reply "Get out of here! That's f***ing ridiculous."
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Euphemism for “non-useful”

I was just about to tell someone how something "wouldn't really be much useful" if they leave it the way it is — which is like a much more polite version of useless, but I just couldn't find the word. ...
5
votes
1answer
339 views

Is there a term for a euphemistic term being used literally?

Is there a term for using a word that's often a euphemism to mean exactly what the word means? For example, in Terry Pratchett's Discworld, what would the act of using the word "seamstress" to refer ...
4
votes
4answers
224 views

A term for this type of language

For example, you're in a room with three people. You're talking to one person and the other is getting kind of stupid or is doing something that you find dumb. To insult them without them catching on ...
4
votes
5answers
712 views

Why aren't there any common words for 'defecating' and 'urinating'?

Besides 'poo(p)ing' and 'peeing/weeing' used by and to children, besides 'shitting/crapping' and 'pissing' which are spoken, not polite, says the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, besides ...
4
votes
0answers
535 views

What is the origin of “bite me”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Meaning and usage of “bite me” Here’s the dilemma: What body part does the oft-used expression, “Bite me!” refer to? All the males (man on the street) I’ve ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Is 'equivocate' a euphemism for 'lie' or can it not be about lying?

I can almost remember the first time I had ever heard/saw the word 'equivocate', probably in some junior-high vocabulary lesson. Like with many latinate neologisms, at first blush it sounds weak and ...
3
votes
4answers
140 views

American word for commode

I know several words for the toilet, i.e. bathroom. However I want to know the colloquial word for the seat on which one sits while defecating. I have read john somewhere but never heard an American ...
3
votes
3answers
204 views

How do we refer to body odour delicately?

Perhaps one of the most difficult things I ever had to do as a manager of staff was to talk to someone about their 'body odour'. Can anyone think of a term to use and appropriate language in which ...
3
votes
1answer
275 views

Skin as euphemism for money

What is the origination or history of using "skin" to refer to "money?" For example, a golf competition called a "skins game" or, referring to an investor who, "has some skin in the game."
3
votes
7answers
148 views

Software bug formal usage

Is it appropriate to use terms "software bug" and/or just "bug" in formal report? What else could be used instead? Defect?
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Euphemisms for pornography, violence, and hate

My company is creating a website and we want to say that uploading of pornographic, violent, and hateful content is prohibited. Some people at the company think these exact words are too direct, so we ...
2
votes
2answers
474 views

What is the antonym for euphemism? [duplicate]

Euphemism would mean putting across something that is possibly very hurtful in a very polite /mild manner. Is there any specific word for its antonym? The closest to this that I can think of is ...
2
votes
4answers
293 views

Is there a more tactful way to tell someone they are “difficult to work with”?

I want to tell someone they have been “difficult to work with” in writing, but I don’t want to put it quite so directly. Is there another way to write it so that doesn’t sound as if it were some ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Oh my God, Oh my Lord, Oh my Gosh

What are the differences between them? Is there a cultural and/or social interference? Do young people say "Oh my Gosh" more than others?
2
votes
2answers
684 views

How did “yours truly” become a euphemism for “I” or “me”?

Rarely but occasionally I've seen yours truly appear in text when the author wishes to refer to him- or herself. An example from The Cambridge Dictionary: Some folks, such as yours truly, can't ...
2
votes
1answer
260 views

What was “bathroom” called in 1900's?

What would have been said around 1900 for a woman saying she needed to go to the bathroom in the state of Virginia?
2
votes
4answers
126 views

What is a euphemism for enforcer?

As in a bad guy, thug, hatchet man, etc. who "persuades" people to pay. I'm trying to think of something overly professional and comedic. Any ideas?
2
votes
1answer
5k views

What does the expression “for crying out loud” mean? [closed]

What does the expression "for crying out loud" mean and where does it come from?
1
vote
4answers
326 views

what does “flip the bird” mean?

I mean in this sentence "A buzzer sounds sharply in the distance. without looking up, he lifts his middle finger up on one hand and flips 'the bird' , holds it a moment.drops it." I dont know what he ...
1
vote
2answers
7k views

Cleaner alternative for “sucks”. [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Formal alternative for “suck” Since the word "sucks" does not have an origin that would make it a good word to use in many contexts, I want to know whether ...
1
vote
1answer
152 views

Can a gunfight happen when only one person has a gun?

Dictionaries (M-W) commonly define a gunfight as an exchange of gunfire. However, the OED defines a gunfight as "a shooting affray". {paywall link} Several stories & film describe or depict a ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Does “absent friends” have definite association with deceased family/friends?

Having gotten married this year and acting as best man for my brother, one of the responsibilities for speeches was a toast "to absent friends". With some of our family no longer being alive, for us ...
1
vote
2answers
78 views

More friendly word for “enterprise”

This is a toughy, but I'm looking for a word that doesn't have the connotations of "enterprise," "corporate" or "national account." Something that will get the idea of multi-unit businesses across in ...
1
vote
6answers
357 views

A Less Offensive Word For Crippled Beggar? [closed]

What would be a nice way of saying a crippled beggar? For example I want to say "I gave some money to a crippled beggar who was begging on the road" but the word crippled and beggar doesn't seem nice ...
0
votes
6answers
116 views

Positive euphemism for “harped on”

How can I replace harped on with a more positive expression? The production manager harped on the new quality assurance regulations for nearly an hour.
0
votes
2answers
216 views

Can “fornicate” be used as a transitive verb? [closed]

(I’m asking this for someone else who doesn’t know about this site (yet).) Could fornicate be used as a transitive verb, as in We have to keep A from fornicating B. I don’t believe it can.
0
votes
1answer
115 views

What does “I want you to do me” mean?

I read a conversation between two people. "I want you to do me on this table." What is the meaning of this sentence?
0
votes
4answers
4k views

Polite swearing words? [closed]

I hate to swear, i.e to say "fuck you" or whatsoever of those words. However sometimes I get angry and I wish there are words that could be a polite replacement for those swearing. I wish there's a ...