Word I Just Learned: Dysphemism

James, intrigued by the aforementioned term and the phrase ‘the anesthetic of the familiar’, sent me a link to a short description of a talk by Steven Pinker. I was particularly intrigued by the word ‘dysphemism’, which apparently refers to the opposite of a euphemism. From Wikipedia:

In language, both dysphemism and cacophemism refer to the usage of an intentionally harsh word or expression instead of a polite one; they are rough opposites of euphemism…Examples of dysphemism include “dead tree edition” for the paper version of an online magazine, or the American military personnel’s use of “shit on a shingle” for their common breakfast of creamed chipped beef on toast.

Now, to use it in conversation three times. That shouldn’t be too hard, should it?


  1. Bobby: Lately, I use it mostly to lose at Scrabble.

    In truth, I don’t use it all that much. I update my status periodically, I play Scrabble on it, I check out new apps that my friends have tried. I sometimes use it to organize or indicate my attendance of events.

    It’s also been entertaining to reconnect with old friends and classmates–it’s an excellent engine for that.

    Occasionally I use it for professional purposes, creating and promoting a group or event for one of our clients.

    In short, it’s got more uses than most social networks for me, but I haven’t become addicted.

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