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Hugh Rawson, "A Dictionary of Euphemisms and Other Doubletalk"
Crown | 1988-12-12 | ISBN: 0517545187 | 312 pages | PDF | 6,6 MB

Many euphemisms are so delightfully ridiculous that everyone laughs at them. (Well, almost everyone: The people who call themselves the National Selected Morticians usually manage to keep from smiling. ) Yet euphemisms have very serious reasons for being. They conceal the things people fear the most—death, the dead, the supernatural. They cover up the facts of life—of sex and reproduction and excretion—which inevitably remind even the most refined people that they are made of clay, or worse. They are beloved by individuals and institutions (governments, especially) who are anxious to present only the handsomest possible images of themselves to the world. And they are embedded so deeply in our language that few of us, even those who pride themselves on being plainspoken, ever get through a day without using them.

The same sophisticates who look down their noses at little boys' room and other euphemisms of that ilk will nevertheless say that they are going to the bathroom when no bath is intended,- that Mary has been sleeping around even though she has been getting precious little shut-eye,- that John has passed away or even departed (as if he'd just made the last train to Darien),- and that Sam and Janet are friends, which sounds a lot better than "illicit lovers."

Thus, euphemisms are society's basic lingua non franca. As such, they are outward and visible signs of our inward anxieties, conflicts, fears, and shames. They are like radioactive isotopes. By tracing them, it is possible to see what has been (and is) going on in our language, our minds, and our culture.

Enjoy this great book! Brought to you by SMIRK

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