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What is the term for a polite word or phrase that is used in place of a vulgar word or phrase?

"Prostitute" is a _____ for "hooker"

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  • In this particular case, I don't think either is particularly vulgar or polite. "Hooker" is an informal synonym for a prostitute, so the latter is the formal term. Jul 21, 2016 at 3:21
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    Isn't this a duplicate of Non-offensive substitute for a swear word ?
    – ColleenV
    Jul 21, 2016 at 3:21
  • another one you may be thinking of: double entendre
    – user180089
    Jul 21, 2016 at 3:30

2 Answers 2

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Euphemism.

Dictionary definition is: a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.

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  • Yes! I can't believe I couldn't think of that... still, I'll wait a bit to see if there are any other terms I can't remember at the moment. I mean, to be fair, prostitute isn't a "euphemism" for hooker the way "chasing the dragon" is a euphemism for getting high. It's explicit; I tend to think of euphemisms as being implicit.
    – René
    Jul 21, 2016 at 3:20
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Amiable or affable;

"Prostitute" is an amiable term for "hooker".

or

"Prostitute" is an affable term for "hooker".


Dictionary.com defines amiable as:

having or showing pleasant, good-natured personal qualities; affable:

Dictionary.com defines affable as

pleasantly easy to approach and to talk to; friendly; cordial; warmly polite:

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    Amiable and affable are used to describe people, not terms. The prostitute, or hooker, might have been amiable or affable (so as to be hired for services), but not the words themselves. Jul 21, 2016 at 3:45

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