Pretty it up

Call me one lucky word nymph. I say how much I love words and how they’re used and people send give me their treasured dictionaries. I say how I much I love SweeTarts and people think of me when they see the candies in stores. I publicly fear coming up dry and people send me suggestions for topics.

I received many blessings this Easter, including SweeTarts and other goodies. One gift is something you and I will be able to enjoy together in weeks and months to come.

Get ready to enjoy picks from Hugh Rawson’s A Dictionary of Euphemisms & Other Doubletalk: Being a Compilation of Linguistic Fig Leaves and Verbal Flourishes for Artful Users of the English Language, a treasure that came my way thanks to a very special Easter Bunny.

I’ve wanted to write about euphemisms for some time; in fact, I noticed that I had jotted it down on a pad where I park blog ideas, just before I received the book. I had been separating euphemisms from political correctness in my mind in hopes of sharing some subtleties. I’ll do this later, after I’ve had time to delve into 312 pages of euphemisms A to Z. Already I’ve come upon some gems. Doubletalk merits its own discussion altogether. It’s an art often disparagingly attributed to politicians but made famous by comedic greats Carl Reiner and Sid Caesar. Or maybe that’s doublespeak. I’ll look into that.

This dictionary might be my favorite yet; I see great utility. There’s another one out there that looks interesting: A Dictionary of Euphemisms: How Not To Say What You Mean by R.W. Holder, which could be of value to those practicing in the field of crisis communications.

While I’m at work on this, what are some of your favorite euphemisms?

(So far, mine might be “embroider the truth.”)

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Reading

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