- Some euphemisms, like "gay," have become so common that the earlier use of the word has largely ended.
- Some euphemisms seem nastier than the words they replace. "Son of a bitch" was devised to replace "dog" -- a horrible epithet in England. In the USA, "bitch" is a bad word, unless you're talking about a female dog.
- Some euphemisms, like "SOB" and "son of a B," are euphemisms for other euphemisms.
- Some euphemisms are just plain confusing.
We also have people who move one generation farther away, using a rhyming euphemism for the the gentler synonym. They say "tee'd off" instead of "pee'd off." Would Tiger Woods be tee'd off if someone else tee'd off at Tiger's tee time?
- And then we get to the really silly euphemisms like "ticked-off," "torqued-off," and the silliest of all:
Euphemania by Ralph Keyes. I just started reading it and am learning things on almost every page. Ralph claims that Midwesterners say "sack" instead of "bag" because they perceive "bag" as slang for "scrotum." Folks in the northeast, where "sack" may mean "scrotum," feel safe with "bag."
I'm not sure if Ralph is right about this, but it's interesting to contemplate. Southerners avoid both "bag" and "sack" by saying "poke."
Y'all be careful now. Don't you be buyin' no pig in a poke. Y'hear?
When I was in junior high school, we verbally combined the two images above to produce "jock full of nuts."
CLICK for more about the coffee and NYC history.
Brie photo from Southport Grocery & Cafe. Urine sample photo from Mountainside Medical Equipment. Jockstrap photo from Calvin Klein. I thank them.