Questions tagged [euphemisms]

Questions about harmless rewordings of potentially offensive words or phrases.

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42
votes
8answers
37k views

Less vulgar synonyms for “circlejerk”

Someone asked in the Math.StackExchange chatroom what a "more refined word for circlejerk" might be. UrbanDictionary defines this (in our desired usage) as: [...] pompous, self-...
5
votes
5answers
7k views

Why aren't there any common words for 'defecating' and 'urinating'?

Besides 'poo(p)ing' and 'peeing/weeing' used by and to children, besides 'shitting/crapping' and 'pissing' which are spoken, not polite, says the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, besides '...
36
votes
4answers
41k views

“Your fly is open” “You mean my flies?”

Apparently, when a gentleman has forgotten to zip his pants, in the US they remind him thusly Your fly is open Dictionary.com lists the noun fly meaning: 20. a strip of material sewn along one ...
0
votes
4answers
8k views

What does it mean when someone has 'issues' with something?

This seems another of those fashionable expressions (like awesome) which may not stand the test of generations. But when someone tells you that Suzannah has 'issues with self confidence', what does ...
0
votes
6answers
791 views

Positive euphemism for “harped on”

How can I replace harped on with a more positive expression? The production manager harped on the new quality assurance regulations for nearly an hour.
-2
votes
2answers
3k views

Euphemism for “old” (person) [closed]

Almost every language has polite ways to say that someone is old and that someone is getting ones. Are they usual in English? If so, which is the most usual euphemism in English to express these two ...
18
votes
8answers
32k views

What are the polite and neutral versions of “cut the bull*’?

I was wondering what are the polite and neutral versions of cut the bullshit? Suppose one calls his mobile customer service for signal problem, but the representative endlessly tries to promote ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Is there a word to describe female between 'girl' and 'woman'?

I've been trying to find a word that describes someone that's older than a 'girl' but not yet a 'woman'. It seems the connotation of girl is an immature female that's still growing up. Whereas a woman ...
21
votes
13answers
69k views

Euphemism for “There's more than one way to skin a cat”

Growing up in the 80s, I ended up hearing/using this phrase a lot whenever I wanted to express that there was more than one way to do something: "there's more than one way to skin a cat." I have ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Adjective for 'shite'

The adjective for 'shit' is 'shitty'. And is there no different adjective for the British word 'shite'?
8
votes
4answers
17k views

French Letters and condoms

Repartee (inexact quote) from a TV show: Person A: Now, we're going to be getting some letters from French people. Person B: It could be worse. You might be getting French letters. (laughter) ...
8
votes
8answers
7k views

Politically correct term for someone who is Internet challenged?

What is the politically correct term for someone who is not very Internet savvy?
5
votes
1answer
565 views

Is there a term for a euphemistic term being used literally?

Is there a term for using a word that's often a euphemism to mean exactly what the word means? For example, in Terry Pratchett's Discworld, what would the act of using the word "seamstress" to refer ...
3
votes
4answers
25k views

Proper usage of “passed” vs “passed away”

The current popular verb for someone who has died is to say they "passed." It sounds incorrect to me -- isn't the proper terminology "passed-away"? I've noticed that people on TV and people under 30 ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

Is 'equivocate' a euphemism for 'lie' or can it not be about lying?

I can almost remember the first time I had ever heard/saw the word 'equivocate', probably in some junior-high vocabulary lesson. Like with many latinate neologisms, at first blush it sounds weak and ...
11
votes
1answer
7k views

Would sir like something for the weekend?

"Something for the weekend" is a euphemism heard in barber shops, when the above phrase is used to enquire of a customer whether he would like a packet of condoms. Does anyone know how this phrase ...
8
votes
2answers
78k views

Origin of the phrase “sow wild oats”

In Collin's dictionary, to sow your wild oats mean If a young person sows their wild oats, they behave in a rather uncontrolled way, especially by having a lot of sexual relationships. What is the ...
7
votes
8answers
4k views

Positive euphemisms for desert?

Looking on thesaurus.com I can find only synonyms for "desert" with negative connotations. Are there any synonyms with positive connotations? Specifically, something that invokes the sense of clean ...
7
votes
3answers
771 views

Professors and Students

When I was learning English back in school (in the nineties), there were pupils and teachers. Now there seem to be students and professors, where a "professor" can be anyone who happens to teach ...
6
votes
11answers
20k views

Substitute for F*** in emphasizing disbelief, anger, etc

How do I replace F*** while expressing fully my disbelief, anger, etc? E.g., "I think Homer Simpson is incredibly sexy" My reply "Get out of here! That's f***ing ridiculous."
4
votes
4answers
523 views

A term for this type of language

For example, you're in a room with three people. You're talking to one person and the other is getting kind of stupid or is doing something that you find dumb. To insult them without them catching on ...
4
votes
0answers
670 views

What is the origin of “bite me”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Meaning and usage of “bite me” Here’s the dilemma: What body part does the oft-used expression, “Bite me!” refer to? All the males (man on the street) I’ve ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Origin of “skin” as euphemism for money

What is the origin or history of using "skin" to refer to "money?" For example, a golf competition called a "skins game" or, referring to an investor who, "has some skin in the game."
2
votes
4answers
4k views

What does “play the trumpet” mean?

In a recent Academia SE question, user moonman239 writes: What is proper etiquette for college students needing to leave the lecture room for any reason? Example: Bathroom breaks, an urgent phone ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What's a synonym for “Bull**it” when referring to something like writing English papers? [duplicate]

“Bullshit” is often a slang verb used when writing essays to mean that you are writing things without much deep thought or care. I'm looking for a more formal definition of the word “Bullshit”. I ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

number one and number two as euphemisms for urinate/defecate. rationale for which is which?

After years of never knowing which is which, I finally looked it up and it seems number one is firmly taking a pee, while number two is taking a poo. This seems quite arbitrary so I am wondering the ...
1
vote
2answers
6k views

Whatever tickles their fancy in the US?

The delightful-sounding tickle your fancy is, I think, one of those rare idioms where the word order can be reversed and its meaning changes; the request: fancy a tickle? said with a raised eyebrow ...
1
vote
1answer
191 views

Can a gunfight happen when only one person has a gun?

Dictionaries (M-W) commonly define a gunfight as an exchange of gunfire. However, the OED defines a gunfight as "a shooting affray". {paywall link} Several stories & film describe or depict a ...