Monday, 17 November 2014

Euphemisms about Fashion and Stuff (in Quotes)

channelling: copying
investment bag: expensive bag
directional: Nobody seems to be entirely sure what that means.
editing your wardrobe: throwing away old clothes
pieces: clothes
product: clothes and accessories
pricepoint: price
(Times Fashion Glossary, August 14 2009)

Mystifying that women who complain vociferously about anything are FEMINAZIS; men who threaten violence are just engaging in BANTER. (Lee Jackson ‏@VictorianLondon)

commonsense: Why won't you just stop being so stupid and see things my way? (adults to children)

Investigation did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study [but did] determine that the legal context is insufficiently clear. In other words they feared being sued. (New Scientist on a journal that withdrew an article about conspiracy theories about conspiracy theories. July 2014)

personality: attractive personality According to a Mississippi pageant director: “When a girl wins the pageant, it’s because she wins in interview. It’s like anything else in life. It’s not just about showing brains. You have to have a sense of humour. You have to be charming. You have to show personality. (NYT)

My publisher was “undergoing some changes.” As in death throes. (NYT, July 2014-07-27)

Unpaid internships, otherwise known as "allowing the children of the rich to buy lucrative professional jobs". (@OwenJones84)

The Fall, obviously, is supposed to be the real one. That’s “real” as in “really, really horrible”. (Times, Nov 2014)

The moment might leave you if you don’t grab it. (Naga Munchetty, paraphrase. She means “enjoy your fame while you’ve got it, and cash in”.)

When people say "You shouldn't discuss religion or politics", what they really mean is "Please don't decimate my worldview with facts". (@secularbloke)

Too often, “That’s really offensive” means: “Stop telling the truth.” (Milo Yiannopoulos ‏@Nero)

Fox News: Atheists are attacking Christians!
Reality: Secularists are alerting government employees to violations of the law.
(Russell's Teapot ‏@RussellTpot, Oct 31 2014)

laugh at ourselves:
laugh at YOU, laugh at THEM
The interrogator then sadly reminisced about those happy days, before PC took over, when “we could laugh at ourselves”, though I think “laugh at ourselves” usually means “laugh at all the cultural groups we don’t like really, you know, the thick paddy jokes... that were such a happy cavalcade on primetime”. The lighten up, it’s a laugh gang are usually far less light when the joke is on them (see UKIP, climate-change denialists, right-wing libertarians, corporate financiers etc. It’s all “just a bit of harmless fun” if it’s racist gagsmiths at a conference, and all staple their lips when the joke is on them). (Robin Ince’s blog)

"I'm saying what others aren't brave enough to say" can be translated as "I'm saying what others are too decent and respectful to say". (@LynnCSchreiber)

"It’s about time this country had a proper debate about immigration." Normally when people say that, what they mean is, “Let’s unanimously deplore immigration, then agree to put a stop to it immediately.” They certainly don’t mean they want a debate about it, because a debate has to have two sides, and one of the sides would actually have to stick up for immigration, and that wouldn’t do at all, because anyone who sticks up for immigration is “out of touch” with the “legitimate concerns” of “ordinary people” and “just doesn’t get it”. (Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph, Nov 2 2014)

“Forthright and straight-talking.” (Vox pops on the UKIP victory in Clacton)

We need to find new ways of working, new partnerships, new collaborative ventures. (Restoring England’s Heritage She means “new sources of funding”.)

Christian group home: indoctrinating work camp (writer to

A ‘Central Board’ to manage London's sewerage was briefly considered – and hastily dismissed as ‘unpalatable to the inhabitants of the respective districts’ (i.e. there would be local hostility to any ‘centralising’ measure). (Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth, Lee Jackson)

‘She’s got a lovely personality’ in my day was the answer to ‘Is she pretty?’ and meant, ‘No, she isn’t’. (Moira Redmond,

"Natural" is often just a "hoorah-word". (JP)

reprofiling: They decided instead on a “reprofiling” of Greek debt – a euphemism for rescheduling payments that many take to mean a debt restructuring. (The Week)

Cautionary words in positive film review: "rambunctious" "ramshackle" "colourful" "zany" "yarn" "fun" "romp" "unique." (Andrew Male)

"Pseudo-intellectual nonsense" is a favorite phrase among people that are bad at entertaining new (to them) and exploratory ideas. (@AmyDentata)

Not being yourself at work just gets in the way. (Gay speaker means “be out at work”.)

More here, and links to the rest.


  1. Glad that 'personality' made it onto your list. 'She's a good laugh' was another consolation prize for being entertaining and trying your best at teenage social events, while a characterless & dim but good-looking girl waltzed off with all the boys....