Mon December 20, 2010
Book Nook: Euphemania - Our Love Affair with Euphemisms, Ralph Keyes (Part 1)
Euphemistic language is a staple of polite conversation. We use euphemisms to dance around delicate subjects. We say someone has "passed away" when we don't wish to say that they have died. We refer to the "restroom" when we don't want to say that we are headed off to the toilet. The term "friendly fire" is a military euphemism for the unfortunate occasions when soldiers have killed their fellow soldiers by mistake.
Every day we invent new euphemisms. Ralph Keyes examines our enduring affection for employing euphemisms in his latest book, "Euphemania." In part one of a two part interview Keyes discusses some of the subjects that inspire us to find other words to describe them; there's sex - anatomical descriptions - excretions - secretions - death - money. The list goes on and on. That's why we ended up doing two interviews about this fascinating subject.