Euphemisms are words or expressions used to avoid being too blunt or offensive. They are used to shield people from language that may seem too harsh or be inappropriate for the circumstances. For example, when people die we often say that they ‘have passed away’.

EUPHEMISM: SUBSTITUTE FOR:
armed intervention military attack or war
adult content pornography
between jobs unemployed
capital punishment death penalty
casualties people killed or injured
collateral damage unintentional deaths/damage
correctional facility prison
developing country poor country
economically disadvantaged; underprivileged poor
economical cheap
economical with the truth lie; be untruthful
family planning birth control/contraception
friendly fire an attack from your own side
go to the bathroom urinate
issue problem
it leaves a lot to be desired unsatisfactory; bad
neutralise/-ize kill
on the streets homeless
pass away die
peace-keeping forces army
pre-owned used or second-hand
put on administrative leave remove from duty
put to sleep (usually an animal) euthanise/-ize
pregnancy termination abortion
sanitation worker garbage/rubbish collector
senior citizen; retiree old person
thin on the top bald
undocumented worker illegal immigrant
vertically challenged short person