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euphemism

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Definition: A euphemism is a word or phrase that stands in for another word or phrase, chosen to mask or soften the true meaning of what is being expressed. A euphemism may be used for superstitious reasons, due to religious or cultural taboos, or for political reasons. For a fiction writer, euphemisms, in dialogue, can be helpful in revealing character.

The opposite of euphemism is dysphemism.

Also Known As: doublespeak (in politics)
Examples:
In our culture, there are many euphemisms for death, including "pass on," "kick the bucket," and "bite the big one." These many euphemisms can be seen as a reflection of our discomfort with death.
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