Euphemania : Our Love Affair with Euphemisms by Ralph Keyes
How did die become kick the bucket, underwear become unmentionables, and having an affair become hiking the Appalachian trail? Originally used to avoid blasphemy, honor taboos, and make nice, euphemisms have become embedded in the fabric of our language. EUPHEMANIA traces the origins of euphemisms from a tool of the church to a form of gentility to today's instrument of commercial, political, and postmodern doublespeak.
As much social commentary as a book for word lovers, EUPHEMANIA is a lively and thought-provoking look at the power of words and our power over them.
I love learning where certain words and phrases come from and this book was a pleasure to read.
We all rely on euphemisms to tiptoe around what makes us uneasy, and have done so for most of recorded history.
The word “eupheme” comes from the Greek meaning “good speaking”.
Even Shakespeare used euphemisms in his plays to avoid the sexual references that would offend people. Even food has become euphemisms. For example, if you were in an aisle of the grocery store and were selecting an oil to cook with and the choices were rapeseed oil or canola oil, which one would you select. Most people would pick canola oil because it sounds better than rapeseed, but they are the same thing.
Euphemisms are tools to manipulate or a way to be courteous in rude times. The social value of euphemisms make it possible to discuss touchy subjects while pretending we’re talking about something else.
If you love trivia and knowing the origin of phrases or words, then you’ll enjoy this book.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher, Little Brown (Hachette book group) for review.