Euphemism
(148 words)

[German version]

is the concealing description of a thing that can have disastrous effects if directly named or that can give offence. The word euphemism as a substantive belongs to εὐφημίζω, εὐφημέω (euphēmı́zō, euphēméō) ‘to pronounce words with a good portent’ (technical term since the Alexandrian grammarians).

Fear (esp. in the case of religious or superstitious euphemism) and shame are psychological factors in euphemism. Forms of euphemism: stand-in words (words that generalize as in e.g. membrum, words that suggest or paraphrase; also metaphors or foreign words),…

Cite this page
Flury, Peter (Munich), “Euphemism”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider. Consulted online on 21 October 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e405540>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



▲   Back to top   ▲