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!