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High-Intermediate Level - What are Euphemisms?

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Euphemisms are words or expressions we use when we don't want to be too direct. Sensitive subjects can be talked about using euphemisms. For example, it can be too direct to say "His grandmother died", so instead we say "His grandmother passed away". Here we can see that pass away is a euphemism for die. Although euphemisms are often used to be polite, they can also be very casual and humourous. For example, "pushing up daisies" is a slang euphemism for death, "His grandmother is pushing up daisies"!

Take a look at euphemisms and try and work out the correct definition.

1 - Powder my nose
2 - In the family way
3 - Kick the bucket
4 - The big C
5 - Stretch the truth
6 - In-between jobs
7 - Let go
8 - Big-boned
9 - Tired and emotional
10 - Pre-owned

How to use understatement

  • 1 - Powder my nose: "I just need to powder my nose before we leave".

  • 2 - In the family way: "I heard that Jane is in the family way again. That'll be her third.

  • 3 - Kick the bucket: "That horrible old guy has finally kicked the bucket. I won't miss him."

  • 4 - The big C: "She got the results back from the hospital. Bad news - she has the big C."

  • 5 - Stretch the truth: "Politicians often stretch the truth especially when making election promises."

  • 6 - In-between jobs: "I'm actually in-between jobs at the moment. I'm sure I'll find one soon."

  • 7 - Let go: "My company plans to let go 100 workers unless business improves."

  • 8 - Big-boned: "That shop doesn't sell clothes for big-boned women."

  • 9 - Tired and emotional: "He was described as being tired and emotional when the police found him in the street at 4am."

  • 10 - Pre-owned: "I bought a pre-owned car."