How many layers of obfuscation on the average euphemism?

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon Mar 12 17:53:43 UTC 2012

Then there's "let go"--when the employer reluctantly acquiesces to the employee's desire to not have a job.


From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Larry Sheldon [LarrySheldon at COX.NET]
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 1:42 PM
Subject: How many layers of obfuscation on the average euphemism?

The question came to mind trying to parse (decode?  decrypt?)
"rightsized", which you might mistakenly think from context is something
done to a company, but is actually a way of making a human being disappear.

"Rightsized" hides the depressor in "downsized".

"Downsized" obfuscates the implied humanity in "layed off" or "furloughed".

Here the track gets hard to read:  "layed off" seems to be an attempt to
de-sting "fired" which has taken on an aura of misbehavior that it did
not have in times past. But it picks up a vague stench of "cast away",
"discarded", "shitcanned" while "furloughed" wants the listener to
believe that the person chose this action because it is such a good
idea, like a "vacation".

Dead ends (like the jobs being discussed( seem to include "dehired",
"disemployed", and "management empire building thwarted".
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