New word

I invented a new word this morning.

euphemasianoun: the act of putting the truth out of its misery by cynically substituting an inoffensive expression for one that is considered offensive or damaging to the personal, political or economic interests of the party using the term. Also, the inverse, cynically substituting an offensive term for a benign one in order to achieve personal, political or economic ends.

Thank you. I think this term will prove quite handy in the coming years.


  • Euphemasia
    A couple of obvious examples:
    1) Using “incursion” when what’s really happening is “invasion.”
    2) Using “ethnic cleansing” when what’s really happening is “genocide” – or, more plainly, “murder.”

  • Nice!
    Coincidentally, I was teaching my students about euphemisms last week. As non-native speakers, they find the manipulation of connotation interesting, since they come at phrases with fresh minds. They were particularly amused by “collateral damage”.

  • Re: Euphemasia
    As I said recently in class – these days we don’t invade, we intervene. (I get the impression that “incursion” is when the other guys invade, but we don’t want people to worry about it – it’s just like some people crossing the border without getting their passports stamped.)
    I’ve just been reading a historical novel about the Ottomans. They didn’t mince their words. When Mehmet conquered Constantinople, they called him “Mehmet the Conqueror” (Fatih) not “Mehmet the Intervener” or “Mehmet the Regime Changer”. I bet they didn’t call the siege “Operation Byzantine Freedom” either.

  • Did you acquaint them with “megadeath,” “friendly fire,” or “Justice Thomas” yet?
    No, wait – that last one is an oxymoron, not a euphemism….

  • Unless your name is Ralph Keyes (and it may be; I can’t seem to find your identity on this site), I don’t think you coined that word:

    “The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life” was published in October 2004.

    It’s a really good word, but underused – perhaps because it’s now the rule rather than the exception.

  • Pingback: “Officer-involved shooting” – what does it mean when people try to mislead you? – Progressive Culture | Scholars & Rogues

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