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Say What You Mean -The Awful Euphemism

Updated on November 26, 2013

Say what you mean

Welcome to the Awful Emphemism.

Have you ever wondered why human beings are the only living species who actually wear clothing. Yep, even when it’s 40 Celsius we’ll be wearing something. And we’re supposed to be intelligent! Are we really that afraid of the truth? In the vernacular, we never call a spade a shovel- we use euphemisms. We cushion ourselves. Or at least attempt to.

Let us take a look at some of the silly things we do. Let’s look at how we avoid any subject matter which might cause us, or someone else, some imagined anxiety.

Sexual Intercourse.

Any Sexual references are suspect. It seems we all have trouble with them. Civilized people haven’t had sexual intercourse in years. We only sleep with one another. Even a half-hour tryst in a motel becomes “they slept together.” How much sleeping do you actually think went on? - People ‘make love,’ when it’s ‘wham, bamm, thank you, Mam' with a prostitute. Where’s the love in that?

You know, there was a time when I thought that bonking meant you’d hit your head on an overhead object – not any more. The good old Anglo Saxon four-letter word starting with f is regarded as swearing. So what do we have? Sleeping together, bonking, banging, shafting. Or ‘they did it.’ They went the all the way. Or, God help us. 'They cohaibitated.' I think you get the picture. Even the word shag is regarded as not quite genteel nowadays.

Cash is not a dirty four-letter word.

Money is also a touchy subject. It is almost as if the word money is a dirty, four-letter word…like cash. Even the business houses and banks feel that way about it. So what do we call money?

Money: Please send your remittances, your cheque, your payment, your contribution. We have deposits. We have liquidity, capital, the wherewithal, a credit balance. Try to find the word money in a business letter…if you do, buy a lottery ticket. Such letters are a rare as wooden rocking-horse manure. (you'll notice I used the word manure...or maybe I should have used droppings...)

We never kill an animal

Killing. We never kill our food animals. Neither do we slay them (another four letter word) We process them. If they’re our pets, they are ‘put down’ or we ‘put them to sleep. They’re given a needle or euthanized.

Bodily elimination, Very natural. Dogs are not the least embarrassed. Neither are horses or cows. But us! Now we have comfort breaks. Even the acceptable word lavatory has become tainted. Ladies ‘powder their nose.’ People go to the bathroom - even when there’s not even a shower in there, let alone a bath. Or we answer a ‘call of nature.’

Death and dying. But the one we’re most afraid to use is death - death and dying. People pass away. He or she became deceased. They are ‘no longer with us.’ They’ve departed. At his or her demise, and laid to rest.

Sexual Intercourse, money, cash, bodily elimination, it's seem we afraid to talk about them openly, and so we conver them up with gentler words.

I think you’ll understand what I’m getting at here. The Awful Euphemism is with us…perhaps it always will be... So say what you mean !


Submit a Comment

  • Marty1 profile image


    7 years ago from New South Wales Australia

    Yes, I can't see this changing anytime soon!


  • KMattox profile image


    7 years ago from USA

    Gosh darn that hub is amusing! I acknowledge the validity of your subject matter. I can reckon an event or two where I myself uttered and edict to replace another. Very bonking funny! Time to depart. Ciao!

  • Johnathan L Groom profile image

    Johnathan L Groom 

    7 years ago from Bristol, CT

    You are the shiznit! Cool piece!

  • allergy1 profile image


    7 years ago from United Arab Emirates

    Haha! Good article

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    You make a good point, and I use euphemisms as readily as the next person...most of the time. EXCEPT when to do so would be making a major excuse for my own behavior, which I consider unacceptable.

    Specific example: I grew up hunting rabbits, sage hens, deer and elk in rural Montana. At the age of 26, for personal reasons, I quit hunting. But I DON'T use a euphemism to clarify that decision.

    Instead, I simply say, "Since then, I've preferred to pay someone else to murder my meat for me."

    See? There CAN be such a thing as a euphemism-free zone! Now, excuse me, gotta go see a man about a dog...water the daisies...drain the radiator...:)


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