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    What's a Euphemism for Euphemism?

    Figarist Cari Jackson asks whether “euphemism” is the proper term for this blithe quote from a corporate CEO:

    I don’t want to say layoffs. I’d say, perhaps, redeployed is a better term.

    There is indeed, Cari! 

    Figure of Thought: meiosis (my-OH-sis), the shrinker. From the Greek, meaning “to shrink.”

    The meiosis (“It’s just a flesh wound!”) redefines an issue to make it sound less important. Reminds us of “The Simpsons’” evil nuclear plant owner, Mr. Burns: “Oh, meltdown. It’s one of those annoying buzzwords. We prefer to call it an unrequested fission surplus.”

    Let’s call a spade a spade. But when someone calls an earth mover a spade, don’t call it a euphemism. It’s a meiosis. Got any more examples of mealy-mouthed shrinkers? Please comment!

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    Reader Comments (4)

    Figaro, can we also categorize this as a syncrisis? Thanks!
    January 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark
    What is it called when you say the thing that you don't want people to remember? Isn't the CEO saying layoffs similar to Nixon saying "I'm not a crook"?
    January 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
    It's not really a syncrisis, Mark. That figure makes a contrast in two parallel clauses ("I say tomato, you say tomahto.") In this case a substitution is being attempted, not a contrast. And the clauses aren't quite parallel.

    January 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    George, I've been calling the mistake of the denial that enforces the charge a "Boner," an eponym that honors the Speaker of the House. If you click on the Bushisms link above, you'll learn about a tactic that lets you plant positive words while skipping the negatives--and ignoring logic altogether!
    January 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterFigaro

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