In George Carlin's brilliant rant about euphemisms, he criticises the way people use different words for the same thing. According to him, people use these words to bullshit themselves in order to make themselves feel less pain.
For instance, the condition in which people's nervous system is over-stressed was called "shell shock" in WWI. This changed to "battle fatigue" during WWII. This in turn changed to "operational exhaustion" during the Korean War. Finally, during the Vietnam War, people started calling the same condition "post-traumatic stress disorder". He does not like the idea that words and phrases become increasingly more lifeless, impersonal, and indirect over time.
Other examples he mentions include (but are not limited to) :
- Toilet paper --> bathroom tissue;
- Dump --> landfill;
- To kill --> to neutralise;
- Deaf --> hearing impaired;
- Old people --> senior citizens
- To die --> to pass away
I wonder: what are some other good examples of concepts for which people have started using different words or phrases over time? And do you also know why the words have changed? (Often, the reason is probably the same as the one George Carlin mentions in his video, but perhaps there was a different reason for the change of words in your example.)