How many layers of obfuscation on the average euphemism?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Mar 12 19:22:01 UTC 2012

On Mar 12, 2012, at 1:53 PM, Charles C Doyle wrote:

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

The only really good thing to come from the "lay off" euphemism is the classic bit you probably all know.  But just in case, here's an online version I found, since I can't locate my Big Book of Verb Particle Humor:


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