So, you are walking all day with a friend, you feel tired, you don't want to say: "I'm tired, let's stop", but say: "Oh dear, we've walked a lot today".

A friend promised to meet you to go for the football match at 9pm. It's 9 and you don't say: "You forgot the match right?", but for example: "Enjoy your dinner".

What's the word to describe these situations? Not sarcasm, because that is in a negative scope. Can we call it "rhetoric"?

Example, if the friend answers: "Oh thanks mate" and he really forgot, you would want to say: "'Enjoy your dinner' was ______".

  • Kindly refrain from abusing rhetoric in such a manner. It never did anything to you.
    – The Nate
    Feb 27, 2016 at 15:44
  • @TheNate that's why I asked the question in the first place
    – Blue Genie
    Feb 27, 2016 at 23:29
  • I do hope you knew I was joking. It's a perfectly good question, obviously.
    – The Nate
    Feb 28, 2016 at 9:07

3 Answers 3


Euphemism - a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.


Try diplomatic.

Diplomatic adjective 1.1 Having or showing an ability to deal with people in a sensitive and tactful way - ODO

Here are more words contributed by @TheNate (thanks!):

  • thoughtful, kind - these relate more to the character of the person; and
  • tactful, gracious - these relate more to the choice words and manner of communicating them.
  • Might want to toss in Tactful, thoughtful, gracious, and/or kind.
    – The Nate
    Feb 27, 2016 at 15:46
  • @TheNate Indeed :) . I particularly like thoughtful and kind as they speak to intent and character. Diplomatic as well as your contributions of tactful and gracious describe the phrase and manner.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 27, 2016 at 16:03
  • Yeah, I tossed this here because you already had the best answer of those posted, imo. Figured expanding on that base would be best for everyone.
    – The Nate
    Feb 28, 2016 at 9:15

"Imply" may foot the bill.

Indicate the truth or existence of (something) by suggestion rather than explicit reference:
'salesmen who use jargon to imply superior knowledge'

Instead of being negative it suggests inevitability.


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