Euphemismos (you-feh-MISS-muss): Figure used to transform an unpleasant, distasteful or repulsive expression into more socially acceptable terms.

 

 

Examples  
“And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.  And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her [e.g., for "grabbed her"], and said unto her, Come lie [e.g., for "have sex"] with me, my sister.  And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force [e.g., for "rape"] me; for no such thing [for "terrible crime" or "heinous sin"] ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly" [e.g., for "terrible crime" or "heinous sin"].

-- II Samuel 13:10-12 (KJV)

   Click for Audio

"Some pundits said our programs would result in catastrophe. The fact is what they called 'radical' was really 'right.' What they called 'dangerous' was just 'desperately needed.'"

-- Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address

   Click for Audio

Louis:  “Hey, ah, where’s your phone?”

Outback Bartender:  “Around near the dunnies.”

Louis:  “You guys have a Denny’s?”

Outback Bartender:  “No, the dunny.  The bog trough?  The long drop?  The thunderbox?”

Louis:  “You know what, um?  I’m just gonna look for it by the bathroom.”

-- delivered by Anthony Anderson & Emma Jane Fowler (from the movie Kangaroo Jack)

Note: Can you spot the scesis onomaton?

   Click for Audio

Denise:  “Sherman, you’re very special to me.”

Sherman:  “Oh…well, uh.  I didn’t think you and I would ever, ever … uh…uh, because I uh, (how can I put it) cause I’m --

DeniseBig.”

Sherman:  “Yeah, I was going to say fat. Yeah, big is better, yep."

Denise: “Sherman, that doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is that you’re kind and decent.  You are the most brilliant man I've ever known.”

-- delivered by Eddie Murphy & Janet Jackson  (from the movie Nutty Professor II: The Klumps)

   Click for Audio

Will:  “We’re going to steal the ship? That ship?

Jack:  “Commandeer. We’re going to commandeer that ship. Nautical term.”

-- delivered by Johnny Depp & Orlando Bloom (from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)

   Click for Audio

Rhetorical Figures in Sound

Online Speech Bank

© Copyright 2001-Present. 
American Rhetoric.
Created by Michael E. Eidenmuller.
All rights reserved.