Euphemism - noun

  1. the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.
  2. the expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”.

Is this correct? "To pass away" is thought to be offensive, while "to die" is mild?

  • 5
    It's correct, you just have it backwards. "To pass away" is less blunt than "to die".
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Aug 21, 2015 at 17:04
  • 5
    Tom, you might like to look at this page ,which I think addresses your question.
    – Margana
    Aug 21, 2015 at 17:04
  • @Margana the link explain "“Substitute…for…”—first replaces second; ok, but here it says "substitution of...for...", the substitution of is still the first replaces the second? Sounds really confusing for me... I understand that euphemism is to use a mild term, instead of a blunt one, but the dictionary definition looks like to say the oposite. Aug 21, 2015 at 20:07
  • @Margana the answer from user39813 there is the best for me :) Aug 21, 2015 at 20:31
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    @Tom: Ok. I think what's bothering you is the difference between the usage for a verb and that for a noun. As you say in your comment, both examples give "for", so they agree on that. The reason one uses "of" and not the other is that in: "To subsititue A for B", "substitute" is a verb. In "the substitution of A for B", "substitution" is a noun, which needs to be connected to its object with "of". So, "Substitute A for B" = "The substitution of A for B". Is this helpful?
    – Margana
    Aug 21, 2015 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


You have it mixed up. "To die" is considered blunt, while "To pass way" is considered a milder way of putting it (euphemism).

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