Top 10 Shockingly Confusing Euphemisms

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Utilizing euphemisms essentially constitutes rephrasing a distasteful quotation in a manner that would not offend your interlocutor. In other words, instead of telling the blunt, harsh truth directly, you beat around the bush a tad and soften the blow by expressing yourself tactfully. Euphemisms are excellent in delicate situations because they have the ability to mitigate the initial shock generated by the “weight” of the information you present. However, in certain cases, the euphemism is excessively subtle and your interlocutor may have difficulties understanding exactly what you mean. Let’s review ten of the most confusing examples.


1. Suffering from “binocular deprivation”

binocular deprivation

At first glance, you might be tempted to think that the term “binocular deprivation” means you are no longer in possession of or allowed to utilize your binoculars. That should teach you from spying on your neighbors’ daughter undressing, you peeping Tom. However, this expression actually hides a horrible secret, much worse than any voyeur could imagine. In essence, it refers to a medical procedure that involves sealing the eyes of lab animals in order to study the effects of sensory deprivation. That’s a pretty drastic method of research, wouldn’t you say?


2. Are you interested in some “biosolids”?


What could possibly be off-putting about a term composed of “bio” and “solids”? Bio stands for life, which means that theoretically, in combination with solid it should probably imply a resilient form of life. Or perhaps it is a reference to a futuristic type of aliment. Well, the truth is that biosolids are nothing more than the sludge found in the sewers of the city. And, because we all know how that sludge is formed in the first place and there is no need to evoke the smell or appearance, you can understand why a more pleasant metaphor was necessary, right?


3. You have been “compassion zoned”!

compassion zone

The compassion zone has nothing to do with the newly invented concept of friend zone that men who do not understand what the steps of the transition from a friendship relationship to romantic relationship imply often utilize. And, oddly enough, this euphemism has nothing to do with compassion either! Quite the opposite in fact, because the compassion zone is the outskirts area of a town where the homeless, junkies and other undesirables are relocated! When the strategy was applied in Kansas City, less attractive terms like “cracktown” or “stink village” were also suggested.


4. The area has been “depopulated”


This one should be rather straightforward, right? The intuitive meaning of the term implies that the population is relocated from their original residence to a different region in order for the government or other authorities to start a construction site, forage for resources or similar projects. Nope, depopulating does not refer to humans, because as euphemism it basically means killing off the animal – domestic or wild – population in the region. Typically, the procedure is implemented to prevent the spreading of a dangerous pathogenic agent like viruses or bacteria.


5. The government is “reinforcing the budget”

reinforcing the budget

Good news, your country’s currency will grow stronger and your public services will improve their quality. What else could it imply? None of the above for starters, because budget reinforcements have very little to do with enhancing the already strong monetary capabilities of the state. To put it simply, when the term starts being waved around by politicians and other authority figures, then it represents an indicator for a collapsing economy as well as the highly probable application of a substantial income tax increase. They’re not trying to reinforce the budget, they’re just using mortar to seal the cracks in the damn before it bursts.


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