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Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemismsby Ralph Keyes
Synopses & Reviews
How did die become kick the bucket, underwear become unmentionables, and having an affair become hiking the Appalachian trail? Originally used to avoid blasphemy, honor taboos, and make nice, euphemisms have become embedded in the fabric of our language. EUPHEMANIA traces the origins of euphemisms from a tool of the church to a form of gentility to today's instrument of commercial, political, and postmodern doublespeak.
As much social commentary as a book for word lovers, EUPHEMANIA is a lively and thought-provoking look at the power of words and our power over them.
"After a lively examination of catch phrases in his previous book, I Love It When You Talk Retro, Keyes takes on the use of euphemisms. With a variegated assortment of verbal evasions, which he sees as tools for discussing touchy topics, Keyes suggests that euphemisms provide 'an accurate barometer of changing attitudes.' He covers everything from product names and personal ads to song lyrics and spam filters. Key subjects, such as censorship, war language, food ('Rocky Mountain Oysters'), body parts, sex, disease and death, and secretions and excretions get full chapters, and amusing anecdotes abound. For example, in the UK, Woolworth staffers who had never heard of Nabokov's novel unwittingly named a bed for young girls the 'Lolita Midsleeper.' Euphemisms also allow for coded communications. After 'gay' was no longer a secret word among homosexuals, it was replaced by 'friends of Dorothy,' a reference to Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. Keyes delivers both insights and humor in a book that's as much about social commentary as it is about language. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A lively and thought-provoking look at the power of words, "Euphemania" traces the origins of euphemisms from a tool of the church to a form of gentility to today's instrument of commercial, political, and postmodern doublespeak.
About the Author
Ralph Keyes is the author of 15 books, including The Courage to Write and I Love It When You Talk Retro. He has written for Esquire, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Newsweek, and Harper's. Keyes lives in
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