Jennifer's Reviews > Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemisms

Euphemania by Ralph Keyes
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Apr 30, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011, nonfiction
Read from April 21 to 29, 2011

Euphemisms are an exercise of evasion. (Aside from that sentence summarizing what I learned, it's also alliterative. Score!)

As a whole, this book was really interesting because it wasn't a simple list of euphemisms-- it delved into the etymology and history of how such phrases came to be, how euphemisms themselves were euphemized, and how some of them have become so ingrained in culture that they're the go-to word or phrase we now use. There are your obvious euphemisms (those for bodily functions and sexual intercourse), but the chapters that most interested me were the euphemisms that revolve around the issue of money and war-- mainly because they aren't obvious.

This book was very methodical in its journey to that point; you could count on the last paragraph of each chapter to somehow segue into the topic for the next one. Sometimes the transitions were a bit forced, but if you're really interested in the subject matter, the structure of how its presented shouldn't matter too much.
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