Adults consume adult beverages such as beer, wine, and the like. Adults also drink water, coffee, and tea but we don’t call them adult beverages, just beverages. And there’s adult entertainment too, and we know what that means. Pornography. So maybe attaching the adjective “adult” to a noun, means bad for you. Accordingly, these are Euphemisms.
What is a Euphemism?
Euphemism is the substitution of a mild, indirect or vague term for one considered to be harsh, blunt, or offensive. Sometimes called doublespeak, it is a word or phrase which pretends to communicate but doesn’t. It makes the bad seem good, the unnatural seem natural, the unpleasant seem attractive, or at least tolerable. It’s a language which avoids or denies responsibility and conceals or prevents thought.
It could be in the form of Figures of speech, slang, and Phonetic modifications: shortening expressions (What the B-word); intentional mispronunciation (dang, fudge)
How do Euphemisms work?
At the workplace, it is when:
- You are offered a career change or an early retirement opportunity, or if there is a workforce imbalance correction then it actually means: You’re fired!
- You do not live in a slum but in substandard housing, in an economically depressed neighbourhood, or in a culturally deprived environment.
- You’re not buying a used car, but purchasing a pre-enjoyed or pre-loved vehicle.
And a lot more euphemisms manifested in our daily lives.
Euphemisms encourage intellectual dishonesty and make corruption, genocide and various hideous acts more possible.
Although there are some who may find it financially or politically beneficial to euphemize their language, Euphemism has spread to the public that those who have no intention of hiding something heinous such as “genocide,” still speak only of “ethnic cleansing.”Clearly, the term does not bring to mind the graphic images of the horrors that go along with mass murder.
The abuse of euphemism violates our inherent duty to speak the truth, and the right of others to receive it. Instead, it makes us remain ignorant of horrific human realities. For example, instead of hearing reports of the number of deaths of innocent civilians, we hear only of the war’s inevitable “collateral damage.”
Abuse of Language
Language is power. Many of us do not stop to consider the power we wield through the daily use of tongues and pens. As humans work toward the betterment of society, it is our duty to consciously reject vague euphemistic language that has been prescribed over the years by politics and media. It is our responsibility to allow the light of truth to shine in our words.
To add, one of the things that make great books timeless is the ability to express eternal truths with language elevated to its highest form.
In conclusion, as we chose our language in every moment of our lives — whether in a public or private conversation — we should do this consciously, carefully and cautiously. We must always consider the great responsibility that is tied to its use.
Most importantly, we should always direct our language to the true, the good, and the beautiful. Since we know that the truth always finds its way to the light, the sure prescription for winning any war of words is to toss away careless euphemism and arm oneself with the greatest weapon of all: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.