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Favorite Euphemisms (and what they mean)
Old 10-18-2008, 07:59 AM   #1
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Favorite Euphemisms (and what they mean)

I hear people come up with some euphemisms to explain something, but I often wonder where the euphemism came from and its original meaning.

For example, yesterday I was talking to someone who said, "she was dressed to the nines." In looking up that meaning I found one source that says it originated from sailing ships coming to harbor when all nine sails were up and the sailors were dressed in their best uniforms. Another source said it originated from a time in the 18th or 19th century when women would wear long gloves with nine buttons at fancy events. Maybe nobody really knows the true origin, but these euphemisms take on a certain meaning of their own over time.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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My SO and I often use the word "dos" or sometimes "deuce" to refer to going to the bathroom (#2 not #1). Does that count?
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:03 AM   #3
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The SO would say 'ah sugar beets!' sometimes when she didn't want to swear in public.

heh heh heh -
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:03 AM   #4
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As a sailor, you'd be surprised how many common expressions came from nautical origins. You can read about them (at your library maybe) in these books OR I have them both if you want me to look up an expression for you. They are usually very interesting...

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Old 10-18-2008, 09:11 AM   #5
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From AskOxford.com
What is the origin of the term 'dressed to the nines'?
This expression is, according to the complete Oxford English Dictionary, recorded from 1793 in the poetry of Robert Burns: 'Thou paints auld Nature to the nines', it is recorded in a slang dictionary published in 1859. Slang is always difficult to pin down, and old slang is almost impossible. There are many expressions connected with the number nine, including 'nine days' wonder'.



Nowadays I've seen in used similarly to "dressed to kill" in fashion sense.
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:48 AM   #6
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Whole nine yards

Quote:
More commonly, however, you hear that the expression comes from the capacity of ready-mix concrete trucks. Concrete trucks supposedly contain nine cubic yards when fully loaded.
The Straight Dope: What's the origin of "the whole nine yards"?

I had always thought that it had to do with cloth (9 yards...) but concrete seems to be correct. Who knew?
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
As a sailor, you'd be surprised how many common expressions came from nautical origins. You can read about them (at your library maybe) in these books OR I have them both if you want me to look up an expression for you. They are usually very interesting...

One my mother used: "Three sheets to the wind." meaning 'falling down drunk'.

My mother's brother was a sailor.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:41 AM   #8
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I don't know how it is in the other services, but the Navy is creating new euphemisms every day-- especially in correspondence from flag officers.

My favorite examples are:
"Total Quality Leadership"-- You really don't wanna know, but this philosophy has fallen out of favor.

"forceful backup"-- the formalized process by which those in the lower ranks proffer a challenge to the ideas & orders of those in the higher ranks. Also a form of apology coupled with a warning, as in "Just offering forceful backup, Captain." For some reason this philosophy never caught on with the Marines.

"character-building"-- "This is really gonna hurt you more than it hurts me."

"essential character-building"-- "This is really gonna hurt a lot."

"right-sizing" and "force shaping"-- What's left after we've kicked you out. By some strange coincidence, this process affects all ranks & ratings except flag officer billets.

"Things will get better after the [insert name of military inspection or difficult evolution here]"-- No they won't.

"I view with concern"-- "The next guy to screw this up is going to admiral's mast"

"I view with alarm"-- "Not only am I concerned, but the next guy to screw this up is going to skip the admiral's mast and go straight to court-martial"

"Warm regards"-- "#$%^ you"

"Best wishes in your future endeavours"-- variously "#%^ you too", "Are you absolutely positively sure you really want to resign in this economy?" or "Don't let the door hit you in the assets on your way out"
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Khan View Post
One my mother used: "Three sheets to the wind." meaning 'falling down drunk'.

My mother's brother was a sailor.
"If you were asking: On a square rigged ship, a "sheet" is a line attached to the lower corners of a squaresail, used for trimming it to the wind. When sheets are allowed to run free, the sails lose their wind and flap and flutter. The ship's forward motion stops, and as she loses steerageway, she becomes impossible to control. A person is said to be "three sheets to the wind" when in an advanced state of inebriation, fluttering and wallowing around out of control."
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:39 PM   #10
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I hear people come up with some euphemisms to explain something, but I often wonder where the euphemism came from and its original meaning....For example, yesterday I was talking to someone who said, "she was dressed to the nines." In looking up that meaning...but these euphemisms take on a certain meaning of their own over time.
sorry but "dressed to the nines" is not a euphemism, it is just a quaint saying as midpack notes:

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As a sailor, you'd be surprised how many common expressions came from nautical origins.
not only are many of our expressions nautically derived, but also are some of our manners like "elbows off the table" (for when the ship rolled so you don't have your sleeves dipped in slop or whatever the thinking was) to the origin of the fourth estate, which began with ship manifests.

a euphemism has less to do with using a colorful phrase to draw meaning and more to do with sensitivity of the moment & lessening perceived offenses of speech such as saying "passed on" instead saying "died" when speaking to the recent widow at a mourners' service.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:33 AM   #11
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commentary of my prior critique: “dressed to the nines” might be a euphemism if by it you mean, “i’d like to rip that dress off and nail you.” but even then it would be more of an opportunistic double entendre than a situational euphemism. generally, however, if you find at a mourners’ service that the widow is indeed “dressed to the 9s” then you might want to compliment her euphemistically: “my dear, your departed surely gazes down at you from heaven for in that dress you raise the dead,” a euphemism for “he’s dead; you’re hot; let’s screw,” rarely sensitive to a funeral.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:38 PM   #12
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Greener pastures: Fired but because of past contributions/friendships/blackmail material, management is saving face both for themselves and for the firee.

Point person: A person with no decision authorities but is in charged with overseeing to successful completion a project filled with people who don't report to him. See also: program manager.
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:56 AM   #13
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My roommate in the early 80s worked for Lockheed Missiles and Space.

The euphemisms of nuclear war are quite amazing.

Quote:
"We can greatly increase the effectiveness of the delivery system, by loading penetration aids (PenAids) along with re-entry vehicles (RVs) to the bus. The PenAids should enable more physics packages to reach their destinations."
Translated this means. We can nuke more cities with a missile (delivery system) if we mix decoy warheads (penaids) along with real warheads (RVs) to the payload section of the missile (bus). The decoys will fool the Anti ballistic missile defense system enabling the atomic bombs (physics packages) to wipe out the targets along with a million people or so.

I figured who ever came up with physics package had a promising career in public relations or politics..
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:14 AM   #14
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Nobody better than George Carlin to highlight the absurd nature of euphemisms .

Note - videos contain inappropriate language


YouTube - George Carlin - Euphemisms
YouTube - George Carlin - Modern Man
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:21 AM   #15
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Nobody better than George Carlin to highlight the absurd nature of euphemisms .
Love Carlin, but you probably should have flagged that post as NSFW. The PC police would have a field day if they heard Carlin using every racial epithet in the book blaring out of someone's office.
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:57 AM   #16
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Love Carlin, but you probably should have flagged that post as NFS. The PC police would have a field day if they heard Carlin using every racial epithet in the book blaring out of someone's office.
Got it. Thanks for the warning...

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Old 10-22-2008, 05:03 PM   #17
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Birthday celebration: A forced 15-minute attempt at false cheer sans real alchohol. The presence/absence of birthday celebrations for certain people also serves notice who is in the in crowd and who is not. See also: Who was/was not allowed in the sandbox back when you were in grade school.
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Old 10-22-2008, 06:45 PM   #18
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I have some I say all the time-

when a woman is being mean or uptight, I say things like "someone needs to double click her mouse or show her how to do it herself"

my signature has a few I use all the time too. When I see somebody doing something stupid, I will usually mention "that is a **insert occupation** job security"

or I will say something like- speed of light does it's magic again

but I think you have to know me to know what I mean if you know what I mean.

ever see "who's line is it anyway" when they play "you know what I mean"

if you did not understand this post, you need to work on your social skills, if you know what I mean.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:13 AM   #19
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Old 10-30-2008, 09:03 AM   #20
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I always wondered about the expression "Prince Albert in a can". A little checking on Wikipedia revealed the following:

The brand is the basis of a practical joke, usually made in the form of a prank call. The prankster typically calls a store and asks if they have "Prince Albert in a can". When the unsuspecting clerk responds "yes", the caller follows up with, "Well, you'd better let him out!" There are also variants of the joke involving King Edward brand cigars (named for Edward VII) and Martha White brand flour. The prank caller inquires if the store has "King Edward in a box" or "Martha White in a bag".
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