Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Eu’phemisms.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Words or phrases substituted, to soften down offensive expressions.   1
   Place never mentioned to ears polite. In the reign of Charles II., a worthy divine of Whitehall thus concluded his sermon: “If you don’t live up to the precepts of the Gospel … you must expect to receive your reward in a certain place which ’tis not good manners to mention here” (Laconics). Pope tells us this worthy divine was a dean:—   2
“To rest the cushton and soft dean invite,
Who never mentioned hell to ears polite.”
Moral Essays, epist. iv. 49, 50.
   “His Satanic majesty;” “light-fingered gentry;” “a gentleman on his travels” (one transported); “she has met with an accident” (has had a child before marriage); “help” or “employé” (a servant); “not quite correct” (a falsehood); “an obliquity of vision” (a squint); “an innocent” (a fool), “beldam” (an ugly woman), and hundreds of others.   3



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