How Not to Say What You Mean: A Dictionary of Euphemisms

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Oxford University Press, 2002 - Reference - 501 pages
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We often use euphemisms when dealing with taboo or sensitive subjects. We speak of "full-figured" women. We "fudge" on our income tax. We get "cold feet" before our wedding. In How Not to Say What You Mean, R.W. Holder offers an engaging volume that celebrates this human tendency to use mild, vague, or roundabout expressions rather than those which are blunt, precise, and true.
Arranged in alphabetical order, this dictionary contains thousands of entertaining and informative entries ranging from such circumlocutions as a "fruit salad" (mixture of illegal narcotics), "arm candy" (a good-looking female companion), a "barrel-house" (a brothel), "birthday suit" (nakedness), and a "blue hair" (an old women). Completely updated, the dictionary provides definitions, examples, as well as historical explanations where appropriate.
Fun, fascinating, lively, and at times shocking, this new edition of How Not to Say What You Mean is a browser's delight and will appeal to all language and word play lovers, and anyone looking for a good laugh.

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How not to say what you mean: a dictionary of euphemisms

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With its title change, this third edition of Holder's A Dictionary of Euphemisms seems to emphasize its use as a thesaurus rather than a traditional dictionary, though the main body arrangement ... Read full review

About the author (2002)


R. W. Holder is the director of numerous companies, speaks several languages, and travels widely. He is also the author of Thinking About Management (Warner, 1994).

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