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A Euphemism is used to make something sound better than it actually is.[1]

Wiktionary defines it as "The use of a word or phrase to replace another with one that is considered less offensive or less vulgar than the word or phrase it replaces."[2]


  • passed away: died
  • went to heaven: died (often used with children, as in "Grandma went to heaven.")
  • downsizing: getting rid of employees
  • sanitation worker: trash collector
  • fatal injury: death
  • fatality: dead/killed person
  • fence: wall
  • casualties: deaths and injuries
  • collateral damage: damage, death, injury to non-combatants and their property
  • sharpshooter: sniper
  • promoting democracy: enforcing hegemonic rule
  • active defending: attacking
  • pre-loved: divorced
  • pre-owned: used
  • abuse: torture
  • coercive interrogation techniques: torture
  • neutralize: assassinate

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Definition of euphemism, accessed November 2010.
  2. Definition of euphemism, Wiktionary, accessed November 2010.

External articles

External resources