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Journal heironymouscoward's Journal: Things that need names (2) 9

A euphemism is a way of saying something obliquely, with delicacy, a layer of opacity that hides the issue so that it can be discussed without its full impact being felt.

What's the opposite of a euphemism? A way of saying something so crudely, with so much emphasis and descriptive innuendo that its impact is felt overpoweringly. Where a euphemism is a gentle caress, the anti-euphimism is a kick in the groin. "Did you feel that?"

As far as I can tell, there is no antonym for "euphemism". So, let's have your suggestions, and examples.

Some euphemisms and anti-euphemisms from my own sector, software:

  • application issue / royal fuck-up
  • scheduled upgrade / panic patch
  • server resource issue / meltdown
  • security issue / virus infestation
  • inappropriate content / pr0n

And my suggestion is "truthemism".

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Things that need names (2)

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  • Well, if you take it back to the Greek root, "eu" means "good" or "pleasant" or something like that. So the opposite would be "malphemism" (is "mal" Greek?).
    • sounds like we have the _bingo_ here. the 'something like that' that 'eu' means is "true" or "actual", as in eukaryotes. (biology class - prokaryotic cells may have structures, but they lack the nucleus that defines eukarotes). as for mal, well, i don't know if it's greek or not (i probably should, but i'm not going to hide AC here) but i think it would serve nicely. one nice thing about english is nobody blinks if you steal a phrase from several languages at once.
      • hmm. Looks like "mal" is Latin. Still has a nice ring to it, though.
        • The Greek would be anti- or mis-, therefore the "correct" word would be antiphemism or misphemism -- if you were worried about not mixing etymologies. Then again, we do have such mish-mash words like who cares. ;-)



  • by GoRK ( 10018 )
    These sound more like mimetypes actually....
  • "Pejorative" not good enough for ya?

"This generation may be the one that will face Armageddon." -- Ronald Reagan, "People" magazine, December 26, 1985