A Study on English Euphemism

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A Study on English Euphemism

Euphemism is defined in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English(1978)as¡°(an example of)the use of a pleasanter£¬less direct name for something thought to be unpleasant.¡± The New Edition of the Oxford Concise Dictionary (1976) defines euphemism as ¡°Substitution of mild or vague or roundabout expression for harsh or direct one; expression that substituted.¡±
Euphemism is to use a polite or vague word or phrase used to replace another word or phrase that is thought of as too direct or rude. The word euphemism comes from the Greek eu, good, and pheme, speech or saying, and thus means literally to speak with good words or in a pleasant manner.
1. Characteristics of Euphemism
Euphemism£¬as a language
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¢ò.Why people use euphemisms Euphemism is a universal language phenomenon£¬and the reasons for using euphemisms are complicated. There are two main reasons. They are psychological need and social need. 2.1 psychological need
Psychologically people are in need of euphemisms. Generally speaking people desire to be safe£¬happy£¬healthy and lucky. And at the same time£¬People fear something. They fear disease£¬death£¬old age£¬poverty£¬and any sort of disability; they fear supernatural forces that£¬they suppose£¬may come from religion and superstition; they fear all the other negative sides of their life. These negative things£¬notions and events inevitably exist around them and form the taboos in their life. People choose to avoid being contacted with them and even in language they try not to mention them. When they have to be mentioned£¬People would resort to euphemisms instead of them. Thus£¬People would Psychologically feel as if they were not mentioned. Using euphemisms gives people a feeling that they are some distance to what they fear and resorting to euphemism seems to be a guarantee of their safety happiness health and good luck.
2.2 social need
Besides the Psychological need¡¡there is a social need for people to use euphemisms. As we know that in a culture there are certain notions or things strongly forbidden by social customs. Once they are acknowledged by the society, a tacit convention to euphemize them is formed among all the
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