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Euphemism facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Euphemism is the use of a word (or phrase) that replaces another one that one thinks to be too offensive or vulgar.

It also may be a replacement of a name or a word, that could reveal a secret or holy and sacred names to the uninitiated. It may also be used to obscure the identity of the subject of a conversation from potential eavesdroppers. A well known example for many is the replacement of Lord Voldemort's name by "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" in Harry Potter. Some euphemisms are intended to be humorous.


When a phrase is used as a euphemism, it often becomes a metaphor whose literal meaning is dropped. Euphemisms may be used to hide unpleasant or disturbing ideas, even when the literal term for them is not necessarily offensive. This type of euphemism is used in politics.

Common examples

Examples for euphemisms are:

  • restroom for toilet (the word toilet was itself originally a euphemism). This is an Americanism.
  • mature for old or elderly

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