On the euphemism watch

The Daddy’s Home cartoon (by Anthony Rubino Jr. and Gary Markstein) for January 20th:

Doubly peculiar euphemisms heck and gosh: they’re replacing straightforward religious uses of hell and God, rather than transferred uses in cursing; and in any case the taboo associated with these cursing uses has ebbed to such a degree that euphemizing them has a decidedly quaint feel.

(Hat tip to Karen Chung on Facebook.)

The nouns God and hell and the verb damn have straightforward religious uses:

God will provide. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Their souls were damned to eternal perdition

Euphemizing these is very peculiar indeed:

Gosh will provide. The road to heck is paved with good intentions. Their souls were darned to eternal perdition.

(as in the cartoon).

In fact, the religious curses no longer have much power, so that euphemizing them tends to sounds over-refined and silly:

Oh. My. Gosh.  What the heck have you done now?  My name it is Sam Hall, An’ I hate you, one and all, Darn your eyes.

(Even better: Gosh darn your eyes.)

One Response to “On the euphemism watch”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    There’s also Dilbert’s “Phil, Prince of Insufficient Light”, who carries a large spoon and frequently darns his victims to heck.

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