1. A mild, indirect, or vague term for one that is considered harsh, blunt, or offensive: "Euphemisms such as 'slumber room' ... abound in the funeral business" (Jessica Mitford).
2. The use of such terms: "Euphemism is common in hospital and medical facilities where bodily functions need to be discussed" (Diane F. Halpern).
[Greek euphēmismos, from euphēmizein, to use auspicious words, from euphēmiā, use of auspicious words : eu-, eu- + phēmē, speech; see bhā-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
eu′phe·mistic (-mĭstĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.