Quickly adopted by politicians and advertisers.
A little old lady was holding up my line at the grocery store. She was trying to return a carton of ice cream.
“It says New & Improved but it tastes the same.” She said, peevishly. “It costs more but there’s less ice cream!”
The checker didn’t understand the problem and the customer was frustrated.
“Perhaps I can be of assistance.” I said, smoothly.
“The carton is what’s new.” I pointed to the words New & Improved printed in a big star on the package. “It’s got a star on it now.” I turned the carton over “And the bottom is inverted a full inch. Sure, you don’t get as much ice cream, but it DOES make it easier to stack. That’s the improvement.”
“But…”the old lady looked bewildered, “that’s dishonest!”
“No,” I smiled gently, “That’s Euphemish.”
Euphemish noun \’yü-fə-mish\
a: A language, or dialect, featuring the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant.
Synonyms: Sugarcoat, spin, mislead, lie
Origin: from the Greek, euphēmos auspicious, sounding good.
Preowned vehicles, sanitation and domestic engineers, vertically challenged – Euphemish words and phrases have already worked their way into our everyday usage. But few scholars, like myself, have undertaken formal study of the language.
Here, for the beginning student, are a few commonly used Euphemish phrases with their English translations:
- New and Improved Translation: One unimportant feature is NEW. The seller hopes his cash flow will soon be IMPROVED.
See example above.
- To serve you better Translation: To save us money.
Usually accompanies the announcement of something you won’t like, and about which you have no choice. For example:
- Electric hand dryers instead of paper towels
- Computerized phone operators instead of real people
- Mandatory online anything – banking, bill paying, tax filing
- Limited time offer Translation: Offer ends when all gullible people run out of money, or when the sun turns cold, whichever comes first.
Designed to create a sense of urgency totally out of proportion to the banality of the product being offered.
The Special offer variation promises a reduced price if the purchaser acts in the next 30 minutes, or is one of the first 200 callers. The caller right before you was always the last person to qualify. Known as the Yeti of the advertising world, the Special Offer is often described, but there have been no confirmed sightings.
- Creating jobs Translation: Taking money from people who have jobs, to give to people who don’t, to complete tasks that nobody wants done.
Popular with those who subscribe to the Rumpelstiltskin Theory of Economics.
- Rate change Translation: It’s gonna cost more.
The word “change” when applied to rate, price, cost, etc. ALWAYS means an increase. If the price were actually going down, that would be trumpeted clearly and repeatedly. In English.
- This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you Translation: This is going to hurt you. I’ll be fine.
Very popular with parents and politicians.
Some are born with an ear for the language. These people usually gravitate toward careers in advertising, sales, packaging, and public office. Natural ability, however, is not a requirement – Euphemish can be learned.
To that end, I am proud to announce the release of my just-completed Euphemish/English language guide by Peg-Co. Advance copies may be reserved at a low, low introductory price. For a limited time.