100 Politically Correct (PC) Euphemisms

100 Politically Correct (PC) Euphemisms

100 Politically Correct (PC) Euphemisms

Do you speak English (politically) correctly? These euphemisms help us to avoid discriminating against other people on the grounds of: a) age, b) appearance, c) gender, d) health, e) personality, f) race, g) relationship status, h) religion, i) social status, and j) work.

Can you categorise each phrase? For example: 1. d) There are 5 phrases (in blue) that don’t fit any category. Click the image to enlarge it:

100 Politically Correct (PC) Euphemisms

100 Politically Correct (PC) Euphemisms

DON’T SAY:  –  –  –  >  DO SAY:

1. able-bodied > non-disabled
2. actress > actor
3. Australian Aborigine > Native Australian
4. bald > follically challenged
5. barman > bar attendant
6. bin man > cleanliness technician
7. black bag > bin bag
8. black person > Person of Colour
9. black sheep > pariah
10. blackboard > chalk board
11. blacklisted > banned
12. blind > sight impaired
13. blind drunk > very drunk
14. boring > differently interesting
15. broken home > dysfunctional family
16. brother / sister > sibling
17. chairman > chair
18. Christian name > first name
19. Christmas > Winter Festival / Winterval
20. cleaner > facility manager
21. clumsy > uniquely coordinated
22. confined to a wheelchair > wheelchair user
23. dead > passed away / terminally unavailable
24. deaf > hearing impaired
25. deforestation > forest management
26. diabetic > person with diabetes
27. dinner lady > mealtime supervisor
28. disease > disorder
29. drug addict > person with a chemical dependency
30. drug habit > substance use disorder
31. English > British / UK citizen
32. Eskimo > Inuit
33. fat > overweight / big-boned
34. fireman > firefighter
35. forefathers > ancestors / forebears
36. Frenchman > French person
37. get the sack > be part of a restructuring
38. guys > folks
39. hairdresser > stylist
40. headmaster / headmistress > director
41. homeless > residentially flexible
42. homosexual > same-sex
43. housewife > homemaker / stay-at-home mum
44. husband / wife > spouse / significant other
45. idiot / class clown > behaviourally challenged
46. illegal alien / illegal > undocumented worker
47. Indians > Native Americans
48. job losses > restructuring
49. junkie > person with a drug dependency
50. juvenile delinquents > children at risk
51. ladies and gentlemen > everybody
52. lost > geographically disorientated
53. male nurse > nurse
54. man in the street > average person
55. man up > be brave
56. manhole > maintenance hole
57. mankind > humankind
58. man-made > synthetic
59. manpower > workforce
60. men / women > people
61. Merry Christmas > Happy Holidays
62. midget / dwarf > little person
63. minority group > numerically challenged group
64. Miss / Mrs > Ms
65. nut > person with a mental health condition
66. Oriental > Asian
67. plastic surgery > cosmetic surgery
68. policeman > police officer
69. poor > marginalised
70. postman / mailman > postal worker / mail carrier
71. prison cell > custody suite
72. problem > opportunity / challenge
73. promiscuous > sexually liberated
74. prostitute > sex worker
75. salesman > salesperson
76. secretary > administrative assistant
77. sex change > sex reassignment surgery (SRS)
78. short > vertically challenged
79. single > flying solo
80. skinny / thin > (very) slim
81. slum > economically deprived area
82. spokesman > spokesperson
83. sportsmanship > fairness
84. steward / stewardess > flight attendant
85. suffers from / victim of… > has… [condition]
86. tax man > tax officer
87. the disabled > disabled people
88. the elderly / old people > senior citizens
89. Third World > Developing Nations
90. to lie > to misspeak / be economical with the truth
91. to man sth > to operate / crew / run sth
92. ugly > unconventional-looking
93. unemployed > involuntarily leisured
94. used (goods) > pre-owned / pre-loved
95. waiter / waitress > server / waiting staff
96. warehouse worker > warehouse operative
97. white European > Caucasian
98. woman priest > priest
99. workman > worker
100.  wrong > differently logical


Definition of Euphemism (from Talk a Lot Intermediate Book 1):

A euphemism is a word or phrase that replaces part of a sentence which is considered offensive or taboo – i.e. that cannot be talked about in “polite” conversation.

Example:

Your elderly Aunt Agatha visits your new home. She whispers: “I just need to spend a penny, dear.”

“Spend a penny” is a euphemism for “Go to the toilet”. Therefore, you should show her where the toilet is.

When:

When you can’t mention something directly, but want other people to know that you know about it, e.g. you are aware of a secret. Or, when you want to talk about sex or another taboo subject without mentioning it directly. Similar to Politically Correct (PC) Language (below).

Definition of Politically Correct (PC) Language (from Talk a Lot Intermediate Book 1):

Politically correct language (known as PC language) consists of polite words and phrases that are used to replace potentially derogatory or insulting language, so that we can talk about something negative or controversial without causing offence. There are two kinds of politically correct language:

1. Extreme Politically Correct Language: phrases that we don’t use very often in everyday life,
because they seem too extreme or sound silly.

Example:

“My little Billy isn’t fat, he’s just big-boned.” The aim is to try to see something positive in something negative. But taken to extremes, political correctness can become a bit of a joke, and can lead people to exclaim in frustration: “It’s political correctness gone mad!”

2. Everyday Politically Correct Language: phrases that we do need to use in everyday life, to avoid offending or stigmatising other people, especially people who belong to minority groups.

Example:

“We’re planning a special lunch for senior citizens next week.” [Not for old people.] More respectful or neutral phrases replace blunter, more potentially insensitive, offensive, or alienating language. Politicians, for example, are keen to use inclusive PC language, which comes across as inclusive to as many people as possible. Another example of required politically correct language is the use of gender neutral terms, e.g. “police officer” rather than “policeman”, to reflect changes in our workforce and culture.

When:

When you don’t want to cause offence to anybody who belongs to a minority group. Or when you want to draw attention to something in a humorous or ironic way, e.g. “Tom hasn’t got a big nose. No. If anything, he is nasally gifted!”


Answers may vary. Suggested answers:

100 Politically Correct (PC) Euphemisms - Quiz Answers

100 Politically Correct (PC) Euphemisms – Quiz Answers


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