Quote of the Day

“A euphemism is most apt to be noticed if it is new. When an occupation once regarded as lowly wants to come up in the world, it may try to shed the name that signaled its humble status: ‘farmers’ become ‘agriculturists,’ ‘garbage collectors’ become ‘sanitation engineers,’ ‘janitors’ become ‘custodians.’ Our awareness of the euphemism is shown by our tendency to laugh at what we regard as false pretension. Yet other occupations that upgraded themselves in the past enjoy euphemistic names that are no longer questioned. One may laugh at an ‘undertaker’ who calls himself a ‘mortician’ or a ‘funeral director,’ but not at a money-handler who calls himself a ‘financier’ or a tradesman who calls himself a ‘businessman.’ These euphemisms are accepted at face value — to the benefit of those labeled by them.”

–Dwight Bolinger, Language: The Loaded Weapon 73 (1980).

let’s see…

“prunes” become “dried plums”
“unemployed mom” becomes “freelance editor”

2 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

  • pirategrrl
    February 2, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    aging slacker becomes re-entry student?


  • samayam
    February 2, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    And let’s not forget the lowly physicians who, in order to rid themselves of the stigma of being mere butchers, allied themselves with Doctors of Philosophy and now get their hackles raised when anyone but a physician presumes to use the term Doctor. Kids these days.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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