Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by cuchuflete, Mar 12, 2005.

  1. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Euphemisms are used in every language. What are the topics in which they are most frequently used in yours?

    In AE, most of the ones I know have something to do with ordinary bodily functions, and with unpleasant people or topics.

    Is that also true in other languages?

  2. Narda Senior Member

    Weston, Florida
    Yes it is of Spanish. I am thinking and will get back to you with some...
  3. mirandolina

    mirandolina Senior Member

    Padua, Italy
    Scotland - English
    We might just give a few examples in English.

    Consider the verb "to die":

    when speaking formally, or of a person you are fond of, this may be expressed with a compassionate euphemism such as
    - to pass away

    or with a more familiar, slang term when you are not personally involved:

    - to kick the bucket
    - to snuff it
    - to pop his/her clogs

    I can think of some in Italian and French, but we'll let the native speakers have a go....

  4. Narda Senior Member

    Weston, Florida
    Colgar los tennis (to die)

    Echar buitre (vomitar) Quite vulgar expression though, not offensive, only vulgar

    Remar = comer

    Mentar la madre = insultar

    Ojo = pay attention

    Avisparse = be alert

    Pelar el ojo = mirar con atención

    Tragar la gota amarga = sufrir

    pasar un mal rato = sufrir/pasar una verguenza

    Hacerse de la vista gorda = ignorar

    Mas amishado que un perro en misa = to be very, extremely shy
  5. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Gracias Narda,

    Me encanta aprender estas frases, pero algunos no son, a mi parecer, eufemismos.

    Seguro que tienes más ejemplos.


  6. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)

    Some NICE ones...
    golden years---old age
    inner fashions--underwear
    pre-owned auto--used car
    estate jewelery--second hand jewelery
    abuser of controlled substances--drug addict

    wardrobe malfunction

    For death...
    bite the big one
    bite the dust
    buy the farm

    and so on..yadda, yadda.....
    te gato;)
  7. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    Back to your (and my) AE, a moment. We listed, way back in college, the euphemisms for "drunk," and came up with hundreds (need I mention, while we were drunk, so you can imagine the results otherwise)!
  8. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    Hmm. I think there is some confusion about what the word "euphemism" means, if I understand the word correctly.

    Isn't this a (supposedly) "nice-sounding" replacement for something unpleasant?

    Some of the suggestions I've seen seem to be slang. :)
  9. mjscott Senior Member

    fluff = pass gas = flatulate
  10. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    Or "break wind"!
  11. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    Here we enter le royaume enchanté du politiquement correct, the wondrous realm of the "politically correct", which is itself a sort of euphemism for... euphemism which it itself, more often than not, a euphemism for... lie.

    A few French examples:
    Quelques exemples en français:

    nous a quittés/a disparu = est mort (= "left us"/"vanished" = died):rolleyes:
    la recherche sur modèle = vivisection :eek:
    les quartiers sensibles = les quartiers pauvres (= poor neighbourhoods) :rolleyes:
  12. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    If you think about it, "bathroom" is itself a euphemism for "toilet", which is a perfectly fine word in BE.
  13. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    Oh yes, it is, but "toilet" itself started its career as a euphemism. It comes from the french "toilette",
    toilet [​IMG] 1540, "cover or bag for clothes," from M.Fr. toilette "a cloth, bag for clothes," dim. of toile "cloth, net" (see toil (2)). Sense evolution is to "act or process of dressing" (1681); then "a dressing room" (1819), especially one with a lavatory attached; then "lavatory or porcelain plumbing fixture" (1895), an Amer.Eng. euphemistic use. Toilet paper is attested from 1884. Toilet training is recorded from 1940.

    Source: a rather wonderful online etymological dictionary I just found!
  14. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    Isn't it strange how a word that itself is a euphemism, toilet, has been replaced by ANOTHER one and is now considered a bit rude in the US?

    It's truly a weird world we live in. :)
  15. mirandolina

    mirandolina Senior Member

    Padua, Italy
    Scotland - English
    More euphemistic ways of referring to the "toilet":

    Where can I wash my hands?
    the "rest room" (AE)

    the little boys'/girls' room

    The popular English term "loo" is derived from the French "l'eau" (water).

    a propos of which, here's a bit of Scottish history:

    In days of old when there were no toilets, the "business" (another euphemism!) was done in a chamber pot and disposed of in the street, where there were no sewers either.
    In the old town of Edinburgh, where the buildings were sometimes even five or six floors high, it was customary to throw the offending matter out of the window, first warning anyone in the street below with the cry "Gardez l'eau" (Mind the water!), the pronunciation of which was gradually transformed into "Gardyloo".
    Of course this included any water or slops that had to be disposed of, so pedestrians had to be always on their guard....

  16. mjscott Senior Member

    Other euphemisms:

    He rode off into the sunset = he died
    He went to that big blue (baseball field) in the sky = he died

    In the 2nd example, the baseball field can be anything. If the person was a surgeon, he would go to that big blue suregery suite in the sky. If he was a shopping mall employee, he would go to that big blue shopping mall in the sky.
  17. mjscott Senior Member

    mentally unbalanced = one brick short of a load
    the lights are on but no one is home
    one french fry short of a happy meal
  18. Artrella Banned

    Pasó a mejor vida = se murió

    Le falta un jugador = está loco

    Barrios carenciados = villas miseria donde la gente se muere de hambre

    Esto lo escuché en Perú cuando yo vivía allá >> "pueblo joven" = villa miseria (así lo llamamos los argentinos y los políticos les dicen "barrios carenciados"!!)

    Gente con capacidades diferentes
    = gente con síndrome de Down, o con problemas motrices, sordos, ciegos, etc
  19. belén

    belén Senior Member

    Spanish, Spain, Catalan, Mallorca
    Hahahahahahahahaha. I have to remember this one!

    Mentally unbalanced:

    "Le falta un hervor" - He/she hasn't been properly cooked.

    One for someone who is about to die or about to be fired at work :

    "Le faltan dos telediarios" - He's got two newsbulletins left.
  20. beatrizg Senior Member

    Athens, Greece
    Colombia, Spanish
    Devolver atenciones = vomitar

    Mujer de vida alegre / de la vida = prostituta

    Caballero de industria = vividor
  21. mjscott Senior Member

    vertically challenged = short (in stature)
  22. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Very good...a fine example of Politically Correct nonsense.

    Can we invent some more of these for --just a few examples-- other fairly normal human conditions:

    too tall
    etc ??

    How about
    ethically challanged = corporate embezzler
    Mensa candidacy challanged = dimwit

  23. Artrella Banned

    Euphemisms for going to the toilet (UK)

    Watering the horses
    Spending a penny
    Going for a Jimmy Riddle
    Going to powder my nose
    Wiping the dew off the lily
    Going to launch a big ship
    Going to drop some friends off at the pool
    Pointing the Percy at the porcelain
  24. Sharon

    Sharon Senior Member

    United States, English
    I HATE that one !! :mad:

    I just smile, and tell them, "Oh, that's ok, I'm horizontally gifted." :rolleyes:

  25. mjscott Senior Member

    Oh man--I thought beatrizg was funny with devolver atenciones
    --Artrella, you sent me for a belly-laugh!

    Some others
    I need to go pinch a loaf
    to go pinch off a brownie (a brownie is a chocolate cookie bar)

    obese = undertall
    = Rubenesque
  26. Artrella Banned


    Me too Sharon ( in Argentina they say "chichón del suelo" = floor lump??) :mad: [​IMG]
  27. sergio11 Senior Member

    Los Angeles and Buenos Aires
    Spanish (lunfardo)
    One euphemism I cannot stand is when doctors tell the family of a patient who died, "we lost him," or "he left us." How did you lose him? Where did you misplace him? Where did he go? Some family members may not grasp the meaning and stand looking at the doctor, puzzled, without understanding what happened.

    Please, if you are a doctor, or have friends that are, tell them, not to use euphemisms when telling people that their family member died. You have to be very clear and not leave any room for doubts. You may preface it by a short intro, you may briefly explain surrounding circumstances, how it developed, how it happened, whatever you like, but briefly, without testing their patience, and at some point you have to make very clear that the patient died. Not that he "left us," or we "lost" him, or "is in a better place," but that he died.

    And, of course, be ready to comfort them, to be supportive, to be sympathetic, etc., but be very clear, please. This is no time to give ambiguous information, and thereby add confusion to an already bad situation.
  28. mirandolina

    mirandolina Senior Member

    Padua, Italy
    Scotland - English
    It's actually point Percy at the porcelain. (no article).

    Anyway, this reminds me of an Italian one:

    Vado a cambiare l'acqua alle olive.
    I'm going to change the water in the olives....

  29. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    There's another topic elsewhere about words expressing anger, annoyance, etc..
    I think they're often put in the negative and turned into euphemisms. Now, I'm wondering : would you call that an euphemism or an understatement, and is there a real difference between those two words ?
    Here's my example :
    not being entirely over the moon (which really means "being mad with anger", I think)

    As for the "going to the toilet" :
    Has somebody already mentionned "splash one's boots"
    And how about this french one "prendre un jaune chez Jacob"
    (because most urinals are made by a company called Jacob-Delafon)
  30. zebedee

    zebedee Senior Member

    Valencia - Spain
    Gt. Britain - English
    How about these ones (please excuse the free publicity)

    too tall: Renault Twingo buyer challenged
    skinny: Weight Watchers member challenged
    obese: mjscott's Rubenesque is great

    Or how about Rossy de Palma being called:
    "La belleza cubista / A Cubist beauty"?

    Attached Files:

  31. Sharon

    Sharon Senior Member

    United States, English
    obese / too skinny - calorie challenged
  32. pinkpanter

    pinkpanter Senior Member

    Here some foreros have said euphemisms and others jocular expressions. The thing is that vocabulary tends to proliferate around these taboos. There is always a need of novelty. In the case of euphemisms they are introduced to avoid a taboo word but with time the new word gets the same bad connotations that the taboo word had and then a new euphemism is needed.
  33. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    You are absolutely correct Panterita,

    That said, will you excuse me for a moment, as I need to use the euphemism.

    Here I am, back again, still circumferentially challanged [skinny] with a pigmentally deprived facial hirsute adornment [white beard]. Is 'politically correct' a euphemism for dopey or inane?

    Cuchu [possible euphemism for rabble rouser?]
  34. zebedee

    zebedee Senior Member

    Valencia - Spain
    Gt. Britain - English
    Yes, wasn't Politically Correct one of the seven dwarfs?
    I don't know but you're definitely challenge spelling challenged, me old wabble wouser...
  35. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Oh THAT again...could I please pretend I'm creating neologisms, so people won't notice that I can't spell?

    How about 'alphabetically creative' for 'can't spell his way out of a paper bag!'?
  36. Leopold

    Leopold Senior Member

    You mean "wowser"??? I'm confused...

  37. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Zeb is making fun of me, by imitating the pronunciation of rouser, as spoken by a person who is pronunciationally challenged [has a speech defect].
    She is cruel and heartless sweetness impaired this morning!
  38. Leopold

    Leopold Senior Member

    Oquei, oquei, I got it, even if I can't understand what does that mean.

  39. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Rabble rouser: One who provokes a crowd of rabble [gente de barrio bajero], usually into violent actions. A synonym might be 'trouble maker'.

  40. Like an Angel

    Like an Angel Senior Member

    Córdoba - Argentina
    Argentina - Spanish
    alguien que murió: se extinguió/apagó su luz.-
    pasó a mejor vida -como si supieramos lo que nos espera después-
    dejó de existir.-
    se fué a un lugar donde no hay luz, no hay agua, no hay comida -sonamo nero lo llevaron pa' casa :D-

    Los que siguen no son eufemismos pero me encantan :D:

    alguien que está loco: se le salió un patito de la fila.-
    le faltan caramelos en el frasco.-
    le faltan cinco pa'l peso.-
    no le llega agua al tanque.-
    se le calleron unos ladrillos de la pared.-
    le falta un jugador.-

    Ya voy a pensar en algún otro eufemismo y lo voy a postear cuchu.-
  41. Like an Angel

    Like an Angel Senior Member

    Córdoba - Argentina
    Argentina - Spanish
    Por ladrones: amigos de lo ajeno.-
  42. Like an Angel

    Like an Angel Senior Member

    Córdoba - Argentina
    Argentina - Spanish
    También les dicen: Tarzán de maceta :D, pero no se preocupen, he escuchado por allí que lo bueno viene en envase chico -aunque el veneno también... que por cierto es muy efectivo ;)-
  43. Artrella Banned


    Claro!! Si lo sabré yo... cada vez que me decían "enana" yo les decía "lo bueno...." y me contestaban "el veneno también"...y se me acababa ahí!! :mad:
  44. Narda Senior Member

    Weston, Florida
    You are right Cuchu, but I got carried away...
  45. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Don't worry, it's great to see the enthusiasm!

  46. Artrella Banned

    Spanish-Argentina le cayeron unos ladrillos de la pared...pobre!! :idea:
  47. pinkpanter

    pinkpanter Senior Member

    Other euphemisms:

    jiminy cricket
    God ... bless it
  48. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    Advance warning: my intention is not to upset anyone, simply to point out, especially to learners of English, how some euphemisms are used.

    Anyway, somebody once told me that religion is where you believe in gosh and his son jeepers because if you don't you'll be darned to heck.
  49. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    Here's one in french :
    technicienne de surfaces
    for "femme de ménage".
  50. rayb Senior Member

    Chile - Spanish
    Te faltó el perfume en la secuencia

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