17 Euphemism examples (use in literature)

It is a figure of speech commonly used to replace a word or phrase that is related to a concept which might make others uncomfortable. Here the readers will found 17 euphemism examples and its use in literature.


Originated from the Greek word euphemisms, which means, ‘to sound good’. It was first known used in 1681.

Euphemism Definition

It is a figure of speech commonly used to replace a word or phrase that is related to a concept which might make others uncomfortable. In ‘euphemism’ the impolite or aggressive words are replaced with the agreeable or inoffensive words. It allows to speak in gentle and favourable terms about a person, thing or object, which otherwise seen in a less pleasing light.

‘Euphemism’ is opposite to Hyperbole. It is an indirect statement which is substituted with a direct statement to avoid candor. However, with the advancement of realism in society, this device has seldom use and even the authors consider that such expressions of euphemism can discriminate the readers as evidences of a tendency to be insincere or even sentimental.

17 Euphemism examples:

Direct SentenceIndirect/euphemistic sentence
Jeeva is unemployed.Jeeva is between jobs
Eliza is a liar.Eliza is economical with the truth.
John’s father died yesterday.John’s father is no longer with us.
Feena has some learning disorder.Feena is a special child.
He is an old man.He is senior citizen.
Get out.Please leave me alone.
She is not feeling well.She is feeling under the cover
The thieves murdered him.The thieves put him away.
You are an idiot.You have an interesting point of view.
He is blind.He is visually impaired.
Light fingered gentryPickpocket
She is uglyShe is very plain.
He stole the moneyHe did act that did not belong to him.
He is a criminal manHe does not enjoy good repute.
Aloe has become failed in exams.Aloe has obtained less marks in the exams.
He is habitual offender.He seldom do these acts.
The suspected criminal is under custody of police and investigation is being conducted from him.He is helping the police in inquiries.

Euphemism of Death & Burial:

• The peasants rest them from their soil.
• He was gathered to his forefathers.
• I am afraid something may have happened to him.
• What he told was not the unvarnished truth.
• Yet still beneath the hallowed soil.
• He is no more with us.
• Rest in peace.
• May the departed soul live in heaven.
• Go to his eternal place.
• Time has come out.

Examples of Euphemism in Literature:

Othello by William Shakespeare

Iago: I am one sir that comes to tell you, your daughter and the moor are now making the beast with two backs.

Here the use of euphemism has been observed in the speech of IAGO who is telling the King about the sex of his daughter with Moore.

Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I lived at west egg the well the least fashionable of two thou this is most superficial tag’ to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast’ between them.

Here in the above line, the writer use euphemism to show the bad economic condition of his character ‘Nick’ by telling that he is although wealthy and can afford to live in ‘West Egg’ but actually he is enough wealth to afford his residence at a nice place.

“Grease” Movie

Coming smooth coming through come
On lady with a baby
“Got a bun in the oven”
I hear you are knocked up, do huh yeah?

Here in the above lines, somebody is saying about the pregnancy of a lady.

“Ferris Buller’s Day off” Movie

“Pardon my French but you are”

The Wife of Bath (Prologue to the Canterbury Tales) by Geoffrey Chaucer

In wifehood I will use my instrument
As freely as my maker has it sent

Here the ‘Chaucer” has used euphemism about the Chaucer’s wife of bath who is vigorous and disloyal. The writer has criticized upon the lady by making the situation less shocking through use of euphemism.

Difference between Euphemism & Dysphemism

Euphemism’ is a figure of speech expressing in a polite and suiting manner a statement that would have been harsh or unpleasant to hear.

Dysphemism’ is opposite to euphemism unlike statement that will be harsh on unpleasant to hear as expressed in positive, polite and suiting manner. It can be both intentional and unintentional. For example, someone who does not pass the exam, his result card will show as “failed”.

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