Lame, face-saving euphemisms

I visited Vicksburg, Miss. not long ago. The historical markers placed around the Civil War battlefield by the United Daughters of the Confederacy repeatedly use the same phrase, saying this or that Confederate unit occupied some fortified position in 1863 “until the conclusion of the siege.” Heaven forbid they should mention that the city fell to Grant’s Yankee army.

In his message to the Japanese people announcing the decision to surrender to the Allies in 1945, Emperor Hirohito said “the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.” Ya think?

In 1974, when the Supreme Court ordered President Nixon to release his Watergate tapes, he did so, along with a statement phlegmatically noting that the tapes “are at variance with certain of my previous statements.” Uh, yeah. Liar.

Seen any other good ones, historical or otherwise?

I’ve heard the Civil War referred to as “The Late Unpleasantness.”

This isn’t face-saving, but I was always somewhat amused by the underwhelming phrase “The Troubles” for several decades of strife in Northern Ireland.

Closer to the topic at hand, President Reagan apologized for the whole Iran-Contra thing by saying, “A few months ago I told the American people that I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that is true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not.”

And during WWII, the Irish Republic referred to it as “The Emergency”.

FTR and AIUI, the Japanese emperor never says anything using direct language. I believe the imperial family has what amounts to their own dialect that is intentionally indirect and oblique.

This term referred to an earlier era of Troubles for what it’s worth. Considering things never did descend into actual open civil war it seems as fitting a name as any.

The ubiquitous resigning / leaving a job “to spend more time with my family.”

I thought, though could be wrong, the ‘time of troubles’ had a meaning…as internal strife/unrest for an extended period but not an outright civil war or dissolution…

I know of a certain well-known company, which I will only say is international and makes business machines, that calls layoffs “resource actions.”

Wow! Down-sizing is chicken-shit enough. Leave it to the outfits where Advertising is Job One.

I just came across this one in today’s news. A former Blackwater security contractor is accused of shooting an Afghan civilian. This particular man was “discharged from the Army after going AWOL and testing positive for cocaine,” according to press reports.

On a website that has been set up for his legal defense fund, it reads, “He was among those at the “tip of the spear” when U.S. forces liberated Iraq in early 2003. After his term of service ended, [name] accepted a position in Afghanistan with Paravant (formerly Blackwater) as a weapons instructor for the Afghan National Army.”


When being used to descripe people who are resigning because of scandal or mistake, this one, especially, does a disservice to people who actually are leaving to spend more time with their families.

At one point, layoffs at my company were referred to as “rightsizing.”

Sounds like somebody endorses Carlin.

A fast-food franchise on the ground floor of the building where I work has been “closed for renovations” for a couple of months now, according to a sign on its door.

This afternoon a new sign was covering the renovation sign–an official sign, with the words SHERIFF’S SALE in huge type. It wasn’t the premises that needed renovating, apparently; it was the finances.

Closer to home, a supermarket in my neighborhood closed for a couple of days last week because of “electrical problems”, they said, which caused the refrigeration to stop working. They have since admitted the “problem” was that the city Department of Health ordered them to shut down and fix the refrigeration equipment NOW NOW NOW, and deal with other issues involving mice and improper food storage, before they could reopen.

The market people still insist they shut “voluntarily”; the Health Department says they got the store slapped with a court order, which I guess the staff “volunteered” to obey.

Maybe it does, but it was also used euphemistically by bad guys, who would piously decry the “Troubles” and then go to their basements and pack pipe bombs.

How about this little beauty?

Heyward Shepherd Marker, Harper’s Ferry

Not historical, but certainly lame and face-saving, a recent thread mentioned that small-sized condoms are called “Ultra Fit”.

So, that whole railroad thing was true?

What’s this Civil War you talking about?

You mean the War of Northern Aggression? Or the War Between the States, or the War of the Rebellion, or the War of Yankee Aggression, or the War for Southern Independance?

Damn Yankees! :wink: