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"Oh, no, he isn't ill," I said, "and as regards accidents, it depends on what you call an accident. He's in chokey."

"In what?"

"In prison."

"... And now Mr. Sipperley is in the jug... He couldn't come himself, because he was jugged for biffing a cop on Boat-Race Night."


Euphemisms may, of course, be used due to genuine concern not to hurt someone's feelings. For instance, a liar can be described as a person who does not always strictly tell the truth and a stupid man can be said to be not exactly brilliant.

All the euphemisms that have been described so far are used to avoid the so-called social taboos. Their use, as has already been said, is inspired by social convention.

Superstitious taboos gave rise to the use of other type of euphemisms. The reluctance to call things by their proper names is also typical of this type of euphemisms, but this time it is based on a deeply-rooted subconscious fear.

Superstitious taboos have their roots in the distant past of mankind when people believed that there was a supernatural link between a name and the object or creature it represented. Therefore, all the words denoting evil spirits, dangerous animals, or the powers of nature were taboo. If uttered, it was believed that unspeakable disasters would result not only for the speaker but also for those near him. That is why all creatures, objects and phenomena threatening danger were referred to in a round-about descriptive way. So, a dangerous animal might be described as the one-lurking-in-the-wood and a mortal disease as the black death. Euphemisms are probably the oldest type of synonyms, for


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