Brief mention: euphemism

During this time when I’m pretty much housebound, I’ve taken to having more and more things delivered. Just ordered my second delivery from Safeway, which includes toilet paper. But it took me a little while to find the stuff on the on-line inventory. Under “paper products”, clearly, but then what?

The only subcategory I couldn’t immediately identify was bath tissue, so that pretty much had to be it.

I must have seen this euphemism before, many times, but it seems not to have registered; my first thought was that bath tissue would get awfully soggy awfully fast. Yet it seems to be a widespread term of commerce in the grocery business.

Now, toilet paper is already a euphemism, but toilet seems to be too strong for some people’s sensibilities. Bathroom would be the obvious American euphemism, and in fact lots of firms manufacture and sell bathroom tissue (’tissue for use in the bathroom’). But bathroom might seem too closely associated with bodily functions, so someone hit on shortening it to bath.

As for tissue, its associations are tactilely more pleasant than those of paper — note facial tissue as a commercial term to take the place of the brand name Kleenex — and toilet tissue is yet another well-attested term for the item in question.

Put the parts together: bath tissue. To be delivered soon.


4 Responses to “Brief mention: euphemism”

  1. phidauex Says:

    I think the word you are looking for is, “shit tickets”.

  2. Allison Wright Says:

    Then there is “tissue paper”, which is what the factory produced at a large corporation I worked for years ago in Zimbabwe. A colleague who had risen through the ranks was appointed managing director of that division. I popped into his office shortly after the promotion and asked him how he was finding the “bog roll business”. I could not have been the first one to be so rude, because he shot back the reply, “most absorbing”. It was a marketing battle to get it through to the public that the tissue was “made from recycled paper” and that the product was not, in fact, “recycled toilet paper”.
    In Portugal it is called “papel higiénico”, literally, “hygienic paper”. I should hope so.

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