Useful Euphemisms

Posted on November 27, 2007 | Filed in Career, TOEFL

Many of our non-native English speakers will find these tips useful. A mastery of euphemistical expressions can serve you well professionally. These subtle and politically correct phrases are often vague and subject to individual interpretation. They are most useful when you want to avoid being:


Here are some quick examples:

Meaning: With an objective view; without prejudice or bias.
Example: We should use inclusive language in our report so that it addresses to the needs of all parties.

Meaning: Something wrong; An unsatisfactory and unexpected inconsistency.
Example: He is usually very accurate. His last research article must be an anomaly!

Meaning: To achieve an objective through less than honest means.
Example: Even though he is not very capable, he somehow finessed his way to top management.

Stretch The Truth
Meaning: To be dishonest
Example: When he bragged to his friends about his salary, he was stretching the truth. His actual income was much less than he said it was.

Take Something Under Advisement
Meaning: To consider something. (Often connotes that it will be ignored; used for more formal occasions.)
Example: I came up with some great ideas for the new ad campaign. My boss said she’d take my ideas under advisement. I guess she didn’t like them as much as I did.

Meaning: A reduction.
Example: The unexpected adjustment in my salary was announced by my boss this afternoon. I have to cut down on my expenses to make my ends meet each month.

Meaning: Dishonest
Example: He was quite selective in telling his boss the reasons the tasks didn’t get completed.

Bend the Rules
Meaning: Compromising set standards; To be flexible.
Example: The company’s vacation policy may seem strict, but our department has been known to bend the rules every now and then.

I Hear You
Meaning: I heard what you said but have a different opinion.
Example: I hear you, but I think that if we were to buy that stock we’d be taking a huge risk for little gain.

Strong Language
Meaning: Curses; swear words.
Example: We know our boss is serious when he starts to use strong language.

Careful With One’s Money
Meaning: Financial caution. Withholding financially.
Example: Our boss is very careful with his money. Sarah realized that she needed to be much more careful with her money.

Close With One’s Money
Meaning: Stingy; not generous with money.
Example: Don’t ask Chuck for a contribution to the bonus pool for all the assistants! He is so close with his money that it is not possible for him to chip in just a paltry $20.

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