Euphemisms

Our puppy needs a haircut, and is a very fuzzy boy. I noticed that he had two rather large dried on pieces of poop on his rear end, stuck to his fussy hair. I told husband that he had to help me with the “clinkers”, as we have called such things since we got our first dogs many years ago. I started thinking about the word and the euphemisms that we use. I am not talking about hurtful or derogatory ones, just interesting ones.

I suppose many euphemisms stem from talking about body parts or functions. Many of my child/adolescent clients are embarrassed to death to have to refer to body parts by their proper names. A good friend had a daughter who referred to boys’ parts as “hoses”, which I thought was a pretty good descriptor. I don’t know what she calls them now that she is a grown woman.

What are some euphemisms that you use? What words are hard for you to say in public?

78 thoughts on “Euphemisms”

      1. I’m one of those people. I have been saying “45 “ for six years now instead of the name. I also have a tab on my reading spreadsheet of the US presidents in order, as I am reading a biography of each of them in the order in which they served. There’s a blank where 45 should be.

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  1. In the Samaritans there was endless discussion about the best way to ask “the suicide question.” Bearing in mind you’re talking to people who are often in a delicate emotional state. I don’t remember all the different things people would come up with. “Have you thought of ending it all?” for instance. It really wasn’t a big deal, when it comes down to it. Just say, “are you suicidal?” Used to work pretty well for me, people were ringing to bare everything, not talk about the weather.

    So haven’t come up with any euphemisms so far. I’ll think about it.

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    1. This is a question I ask almost everyday that I work. I just say it: Do you have suicidal thoughts? Do you have a plan? I follow that with “I work with these thoughts. It is my job. I would like you to be honest about it.” The ones I worry about are the people who won’t talk about it.

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      1. Jacque, you’re right. Haven’t checked lately,but Samaritan publicity and fundraising effort was built around the premise that we were a lifeline for suicidal people, who were calling us in droves as their last hope. Well-a lot of people did kind of see us as their last hope, but still weren’t actually suicidal. I remember once, and once only, having a strong feeling that a casualty I read about in the local paper was a person I’d spoken to just before they carried out the actual act. The Sams strenuously denied it, but mostly, if people are hell bent, they just do it.

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  2. Rise and Roll Out-a-Bed, Baboons,

    Lou’s mother,who I did not like much because of her passive-agressive behavior, was the master of euphemisms. This was very true of any female reproductive function or problem, “You know. Down there” was as explicit as she got when discussing D and Cs, genitalia, or menstrual cramps. I could have learned to translate that topic, but she used, ‘You know,” as a euphemism for anything else she wanted to discuss but not really discuss, including conflict to which she was averse. It.drove.me.crazy.

    You know…

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Answering Ben about cattle etc. No one ever felt awkward watching animals perform sex, myself included, who’s almost as shy as they come. But the same people had the normal varying degrees of coyness when it came to humans, it seemed to me.

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      1. After a 45 year career taking care of adults with multiple disabilities, words for parts of human anatomy and bodily functions don’t bother me much at all. I also have the responsibility of instructing unlicensed coworkers so I don’t hesitate to use the proper name for the body part in question. The more they can learn about the humans they are taking care of, the better the care will be (in theory).

        Liked by 5 people

  3. When clients have embarrassment saying words they need to speak, I advise them to practice saying the words aloud while they vacuum. The noise of the vacuum drowns out the words, but they get practice saying them aloud.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. When our children were little, the question “OK, who popped?” would frequently be uttered. I leave it to the Baboons to figure out what it meant.

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      1. Before YA came along I volunteered for several years at the co-op, every Wednesday night as part of the cheese crew. Of course, the name of the cheese crew was the cheese cutting crew because that’s what we did — chopped up the big blocks of cheese into smaller pieces and wrapped them and weighed them. But boy it just didn’t sound right the cheese cutting crew.

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        1. I volunteered at East Calhoun, like you before it went under. But I was a volunteer cashier there, not on the cheese crew. I started as a cashier at Linden Hills but after they got fancier, they retired all of the volunteer cashiers, and that’s what I moved to the cheese crew.

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  5. One of the aides at moms place, while helping her get dressed, said something about “The girls”. Mom giggled, she’d never heard that word used for breasts before. I don’t think I new it before I met Kelly.

    “The struggle Bus” is a favorite of mine and I just learned it last summer.

    From Seinfeld. “It” “Out”

    Son worked one summer with a camp for disabled kids. There was a lot of helping change clothes or whatever was needed. We talked about how you could help and look without “seeing”.

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  6. The F word is never spoken by me in public. I ocassionaly muttered it to myself. I rarely use profanity anyway. Too unimaginative. In addressing another person, I’ve been known to say,
    “You maternal reproducer!!”

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    1. I love calling my dogs, “You little B****”

      PS, I love to swear at the right place and time. Sometimes I tell my Google speaker to “Shut the F*** up,” just because I can.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. We have two black cats, completely unrelated, but both hellbent on sneaking into our top floor bedroom to terrorist the four most timid cats, who live up there in peace. I constantly have to be trying to think of an insult at short notice, that has nothing to do with their colour or whether their parents are married.

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  7. An erstwhile lady friend of mine had retired as a cop in Ohio. We enjoyed venues to listen to music, dance and drink. We always sat so that she could see the entrances. She was allowed concealed carry which she did. It was cringe worthy for me as white man to hear a black woman use the “N” word.
    “I think I arrested that N….”
    “See the ankle bracelet on that N.. ”
    I let her know that the usage bothered me. The relationship didn’t last too long and The Word usage was part of ending it.

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    1. I’m ambivalent about that. The N… word is one that I would never use myself. Because of my skin color, I simply haven’t earned the privilege of using it. The N… word takes on a whole different meaning in the mouth of a Black person. I still makes me feel extremely uncomfortable, but I recognize that its meaning changes in my mouth.

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      1. I eventually asked, “What if I called you….?”
        As I now reflect on the dating timeline, I moved two hours away soon after. Intellectually Toxic overcomes the sex thingy. “Thingy”! A euphemism!

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  8. OT: we had very good news today, concerning the stray cats in our village. They are all over the place, and not everyone likes them. Shezi, who brought our new kitten, Meep, to our door, suggested to Jane that they, and Thai, who clips dogs, and Chelo, a cat benefactress, go to the mayor and ask if there’s a safe place somewhere, that could be used as a sanctuary. Well Chelo, who’s on the council, was talking to Jordi (the mayor), on the subject of cats, and he forestalled her with the offer of a piece of land just outside the village. He said it was his, but it’s probably council land left over from the road project years ago. Yes, the guys would fence it and build a shelter. Jane looked today, and it’s got pines and things for shelter as well, and so we’re going over on Sunday to meet Jordi there and have a proper look. So we’re pleased and maybe even excited about that. Jordi will be pleased, because apparently complaints about cats are becoming louder.
    We’ll be able now to coordinate our patchy neutering programme, take care of sick cats better, and organised a feeding rota. There’ll be people around the village who will want to hold on to “their” cats, no doubt, a surprising number put food under bushes and in odd corners. But that’s not my problem.

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    1. Jane didn’t want to give Meep a name, because she was only with us temporarily, so Meep is her nickname, after the sound she makes when she’s hungry. Which is most of the time. The temporariness seems to be slipping away…. I don’t know if she’ll get a new name, or stick with Meep.

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  9. I’ve been thinking about this topic all day. I can’t remember my mother or father ever even using a euphemism for body parts. My mother, in particular, in addition to being the passive aggressive queen of the world, also is can also avoid something she doesn’t want to face like the plague.

    Liked by 1 person

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