Saying things nicely

How not to say what you mean cover
Have you ever struggled to say something and wanted to put it nicely? Or, have you ever wondered about the euphemisms you’ve heard?

Well, R.W. Holder’s How not to say what you mean : a dictionary of euphemisms (2nd-floor Reference Collection, PE1449 .H548 2007) might be the book for you!

You can look up a word or phrase and get its meaning, or you can look up a subject area (like death or religion).

For example, you can learn that pick (as in to steal) is noted in the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) as being used in 1300, and in continuous usage since. According the Holder book that “makes it one of the oldest euphemisms in the language.”

About Barbara

I am a Reference & Instruction librarian, head of that department in Andersen Library, an associate professor, and a member of the General Education Review Committee and Faculty Senate. I've been working at UW-W since July 1, 1990.
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4 Responses to Saying things nicely

  1. De says:

    A phrase may not mean what you thought it did too. Check this one out.

  2. Sue says:

    After every meeting people forget to pick up after themselves in our very large boardroom. We would like to place a sign on the table that says in a very kind, somewhat amusing way, that the board room needs to be ready for the next group of participants following the current meeting.

  3. kyle says:

    there’s always the ‘this ain’t your mother’s boardroom – please clean up after yourself’. =)

  4. JOHN says:

    hi i have to call people and ask for there beee scorecard and offer our services and book a appt.
    i normally say to the receptionist top of the morning ,john speaking from bempowered we have chosen your company today to evaluate your scorecard who is you BEE OFFICER,MOST TIMES I GET THROUGH TO AN IRATE GRUMBLY PERSON,THEN I PLAY THE CALMING GAME ,THENN POUNCE ONCE THIS TAKES PLACE THEY ALWAYS HAVE THE SAME STORY THAT IT IS THE OWNER DECISSIONS

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