EOTY candidate?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 6 02:05:21 UTC 2013

Euphemism of the year, that is.

Tonight as part of the Nelson Mandela tributes on NBC's Nightly News, Tom Brokaw referred to a visit by Mandela to the White House and playing the role of a wise elder statesman "after Bill Clinton had had some difficulties with personal deportment".

Looking at the web, that collocation seems a favorite of Brokaw's in describing Clinton's celebrated travails.  It pops up, mutatis mutandis, in a CNN interview from a few years ago:


Interview with Tom Brokaw
Aired December 22, 2011

I never thought I could see someone who would survive as many challenges to his personal deportment as Bill Clinton did when he was in office. But he was about as nimble as anybody that I had ever seen, quite honestly.

I find "challenges to his personal deportment" harder to parse than "some difficulties with personal deportment"; the latter (from tonight) at least strikes me as a reasonable euphemism (as if Clinton had left his shirt untucked).


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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