Words or phrases substituted, to soften down offensive expressions.
To rest the cushion and soft dean invite, Who never mentioned hell to ears polite.
Moral Essays, epist. iv. 49, 50.
“His Satanic majesty;” “light-fingered gentry;” “a gentleman on his travels” (one transported); “she has met with an accident” ( has had a child before marriage); “help” or “employé” (a servant ); “not quite correct” (a false-hood); “an obliquity of vision” (a squint); “an innocent” (a fool), “beldam” (an ugly woman), and hundreds of others.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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