Archive for the ‘Euphemism’ Category

Annals of euphemism

December 20, 2014

A Clive Goddard cartoon from the January 2015 Funny Times:

On the left, a woman shopping for products to use during menstruation, euphemistically called sanitary products. On the right, an unsavory guy shopping for god-knows-what — but whatever it is, it’s unsanitary ‘unclean’.


Flashers abroad

October 11, 2014

This seems to be Sex Saturday, though I have plenty of other things I’m anxious to post about today. But here goes, with a story from the weekend edition of the (San Francisco Mid-Peninsula) Daily Post, headlined: “Cops: Flasher strikes again: Fourth incident in a week” (by Angelo Ruggiero). About a flasher (possibly more than one) operating locally.

One recurrent feature of the Post‘s stories is the euphemism pleasure onself for masturbate (itself a technical or medical term avoiding genuinely vernacular expressions). As here, from today’s story:

The women, in their 20s, looked out the window [of Peet’s Coffee in Belmont] onto El Camino and saw a man parked at the curb and pleasuring himself, said Capt. Pat Halleran [of the local police].


lady parts

September 18, 2014

Today’s Zits:


Jeremy and his buddy Pierce, and the slang euphemism lady parts.


Sunday jottings

June 22, 2014

Four items from the front matter in today’s New York Times Magazine: the compound poolside memoirs; the euphemism go to Spain; the term binky ‘pacifier'; and citronella for warding off mosquitoes.


On the euphemism watch

April 2, 2014

From Benjamin Tolbert on ADS-L:

My University now has a “budget realignment task force”.

I think this = “people who decide who and what is cut.”

That list has had previous discussions about euphemisms for firing or discontinuing employees (“letting them go”), of which there are no end, all designed to avoid the nasty truth through administrative jargon. This is a particularly impressive example, a four-word compound noun (in seven syllables). Awkward and clunky.

There might be even worse examples out there. Much more embarrassing than sex.


Profanity in the NYT

April 1, 2014

Yesterday’s NYT had an op-ed piece by Jesse Sheidlower on “The Case for Profanity in Print”, taking up a topic that I’ve posted about frequently (often mockingly, often with input from Jesse): the paper’s insistence (almost without exception) on alluding to taboo vocabulary without quoting it, even when it’s the point of the story. (It’s a family paper, they say, and the children must be protected. If so, then they should simply avoid allusions to the language at all, rather than contort themselves to communicate what was said without actually using the words. And, by the way, children are not innocents about such things.)


Taboo avoidance in the NYT (once again)

February 9, 2014

Another in a series of periodic reports on taboo avoidance in the New York Times: three examples of an expletive / obscenity (from Ben Zimmer), plus one case where the paper breaks down and prints [expletive deleted], despite its stated policy not to do so (in this case, it’s hard to see how to avoid it).


Zippy on comic art (plus fudge)

October 17, 2013

Today’s Zippy, with Griffy and Zippy having another one of their Art Talks, with heavy similes:


In the background, Oh Fudge Lucille’s Candies in Brants Beach NJ:


Lucilles — note: no apostrophe — makes and sells fudge (among other things, like salt water taffy), but the name Oh Fudge alludes to the cutesy euphemism fudge for fuck.

getting pelvic

September 25, 2013

Heard on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an instance of get pelvic (with someone) ‘have sex (with someone)’, a euphemistic idiom based on the image of the pelvis as the cradle of the genitals. I don’t recall having heard the expression in other contexts, but it seems to have been picked up in Buffy fanfic, where there are many occurrences. Two examples:

Set after season six. After she got back but before they got pelvic, Spike leaves … (link)

Gunn just didn’t get the finer points of the Buffy/Angel relationship, ‘Because they like to get pelvic and now they can ’cause Angel got his soul anchored… (link)


More dubious portmanteaus

July 7, 2013

For the Fourth of July (Independence Day) weekend, an advertising campaign on the TLA Adult Gay Video site:

Celebrate Foreskindependence

(intended: foreskin + independence).

Meanwhile, for some time now the 76 gasoline firm (formerly Union 76) has been running a tv ad campaign against honkaholism (honk + alcoholism, or possibly honk + the libfix -aholism), an addiction to honking.

The first turns out not to convey the intended meaning — an Independence Day sale — very well; foreskins are not centrally involved in the matter, and in any case the term could be parsed as foreskin + dependence.

The second is clever and cute, but becomes annoying on repetition.



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