Euphuism - euphemism

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These are two words only usually seen in academic contexts. They are confused by those who mis-hear them, and, it may be suspected, want to use long words in order to impress - without a clear idea of the meaning.

  • Euphemism is a figure of speech by which a gentle expression is found to communicate an idea that is felt to be unacceptable.
  • Euphuism (the rarer of the two) is the name for a very elaborate style of writing. The word is derived from the title of two books by John Lyly, Euphues, The Anatomy of Wit (1578), and Euphues and his England (1580). The style is elaborate, orbate and contains many doublets, much alliteration, a delight in vocabulary, and a fondness for balanced clauses.