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 venomous

  • There are related idioms: "Call a spade a spade!" "If the shoe fits!" "Go on, say what you mean!" "Don't hold back" – Fattie Nov 3 '14 at 16:46
  • It is a duplicate. I apologise for not having searched earlier – tr_quest Nov 3 '14 at 17:04
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    @TariqIbrahim - Please do stay. You have not stirred up dissention as much as discussion. We value new users. Not every question will be met this way. – anongoodnurse Nov 3 '14 at 17:41
  • Thank you. Looking at the bright side ive learnt a lot of new words from this thread :) – tr_quest Nov 3 '14 at 17:46
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    This is a much better question and the answer provided (thanks to its editor) is of a higher quality. The title of the dup question suggests that this one is a duplicate, but frankly the body text is quite confusing and muddled. I vote to close the dupe and reopen this one. Is it possible? @Andrew Leach? – Mari-Lou A Nov 3 '14 at 18:26

The opposite of a euphemism is a dysphemism or cacophemism.

Dysphemism is a figure of speech which is defined as the use of disparaging or offensive expressions instead of inoffensive ones... of negative expressions instead of positive ones. A speaker uses them to humiliate or degrade the disapproved person or character. Dysphemism examples may be classified according to the following types.

  • Dysphemistic Epithets: animal names are used, like “pig, bitch, rat, dog or snake”.
  • Homosexual Dysphemism: these terms are used regarding homosexuality like, “gay, faggot and queer”.
  • Synecdoche: it is used to describe something as a whole like, “she is a prick.”

etc. (from Literary Devices)

An example: "Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not… (The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce)

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    Now that's a $25 word! :) Also, what about "direct" "literal" – Fattie Nov 3 '14 at 16:48
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    I should prefer the former: δυσ- is the prefix most directly antonymic to εὐ-. See ngram. A good example is bureaucrat for a civil servant. – Brian Donovan Nov 3 '14 at 16:57
  • A new word for me. Could you include an example? – Mari-Lou A Nov 3 '14 at 17:01
  • Please feel free to roll back if you feel my edit is inappropriate. Thanks. – anongoodnurse Nov 3 '14 at 17:55
  • Here's a good example: Dead tree edition for the paper version of a publication that can be found online. – anongoodnurse Nov 3 '14 at 18:01

From the film "True Grit" (with Jeff Bridges):

"You do not varnish the truth."

This was said by the outlaw Ned Pepper (played by Barry Pepper!) to the 14-year old protagonist who spoke her mind to him.

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    I'm not sure that's not actually a euphemism. – anongoodnurse Nov 3 '14 at 18:02
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    @medica: I'm not that sure myself! To varnish the truth is to pull your punches, so to speak, and to put an attractive spin on an unpleasant truth. Therefore, if you do NOT varnish the truth, you "tell it like it is," refusing to pull punches. So yeah, I think it's kind of the opposite of a euphemism. The ironic way for the recipient of an obvious insult (e.g., "You're a lyin', cheatin' scoundrel!") to defuse the situation is to say to the insulter, "Now don't go varnishing the truth on me. Speak your mind. Don't hold back!" Don – rhetorician Nov 4 '14 at 0:45
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    Interesting. :) I would think you do not varnish the truth is a kinder way of saying, you sure are surprisingly outspoken, young lady (in the case of Mattie Ross). But I love the way you've interpreted it. Now don't go varnishing the truth on me. – anongoodnurse Nov 4 '14 at 0:50
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    Nice idiom-spotting... – Fattie Nov 4 '14 at 7:06
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    Using a euphemism, is, one of a number of ways one could "varnish the truth". Indeed, "varnishing the truth" is a larger general category, that also includes other concepts unrelated to euphemisms. – Fattie Nov 4 '14 at 7:07

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