Difference Wiki

Idiom vs. Euphemism: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on November 13, 2023
An idiom is a phrase with a figurative meaning different from its literal meaning, while a euphemism is a polite or mild word or phrase used to replace a harsher or more direct one.

Key Differences

Idioms are expressions with meanings that cannot be inferred from the meanings of the individual words. While, euphemisms are used to soften or obscure the reality of a topic, often to be polite or sensitive.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023
Idioms add color and cultural uniqueness to language, often puzzling to non-native speakers. Whereas, euphemisms serve a social function, making uncomfortable topics more palatable.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023
Idioms reflect cultural idioms and practices. However, euphemisms evolve with societal attitudes towards taboo or sensitive subjects.
Huma Saeed
Nov 13, 2023
Idioms can be challenging to learn as their meanings are not literal. On the other hand, euphemisms require understanding of context and social norms.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023
Idioms vary widely across languages and cultures. Euphemisms change over time as societal attitudes shift.
Harlon Moss
Nov 13, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Function

Convey figurative meaning
Soften or replace direct language
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023

Usage

Cultural expressions, non-literal
Politeness, sensitivity in language
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023

Context

Adds color to language
Addresses sensitive or taboo topics
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023

Learning

Requires understanding of cultural context
Dependent on social norms and attitudes
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023

Variability

Differs across cultures
Changes with societal attitudes
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023
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Idiom and Euphemism Definitions

Idiom

Expressions unique to a culture or language.
‘Kick the bucket’ is an idiom for dying.
Harlon Moss
Nov 13, 2023

Euphemism

Phrases that make harsh realities more socially acceptable.
‘Economically disadvantaged’ for poor.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

Idiom

Commonly used phrases in informal language.
Saying ‘barking up the wrong tree’ means pursuing the wrong course.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

Euphemism

Avoiding direct reference to unpleasant realities.
Using ‘big boned’ instead of ‘overweight’.
Huma Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Idiom

Phrases whose meanings are often lost in translation.
‘Under the weather’ means feeling ill.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023

Euphemism

Language used to be more polite or less blunt.
‘Let go’ instead of ‘fired’ from a job.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

Idiom

A phrase meaning something different from its literal words.
Spilling the beans means revealing a secret.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023

Euphemism

Terms used for discussing sensitive or taboo subjects.
‘Between jobs’ for unemployed.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

Idiom

Language where words mean more than their literal meaning.
‘Break a leg’ in theater means ‘good luck’.
Huma Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Euphemism

A mild or indirect word or expression.
‘Passed away’ is a euphemism for dying.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023

Idiom

A speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements, as in keep tabs on.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 13, 2023

Euphemism

A mild, indirect, or vague term for one that is considered harsh, blunt, or offensive
"Euphemisms such as 'slumber room' ... abound in the funeral business" (Jessica Mitford).
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 13, 2023

Idiom

The specific grammatical, syntactic, and structural character of a given language.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 13, 2023

Euphemism

The use of such terms
"Euphemism is common in hospital and medical facilities where bodily functions need to be discussed" (Diane F. Halpern).
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 13, 2023

Idiom

Regional speech or dialect.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 13, 2023

Euphemism

(uncountable) The use of a word or phrase to replace another with one that is considered less offensive, blunt or vulgar than the word or phrase which it replaces.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 13, 2023

Euphemism

(countable) A word or phrase that is used to replace another in this way.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 13, 2023

Euphemism

A figure in which a harsh or indelicate word or expression is softened; a way of describing an offensive thing by an inoffensive expression; a mild name for something disagreeable.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 13, 2023

Euphemism

An inoffensive expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 13, 2023

FAQs

Can idioms be translated literally?

No, their meanings often get lost in literal translation.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023

Why are euphemisms used?

To address sensitive or uncomfortable topics more gently.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023

Are idioms universal?

No, they often vary significantly across languages and cultures.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

What is a euphemism?

A mild or indirect word used to replace a more direct or harsh one.
Huma Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

How do euphemisms reflect society?

They change with societal attitudes towards certain topics.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023

How are idioms learned?

Usually through cultural immersion and practice.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023

What is an idiom?

A phrase with a figurative meaning different from its literal words.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023

Do idioms have direct meanings?

No, their meanings are figurative, not literal.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

Can euphemisms evolve over time?

Yes, as societal norms and sensitivities change.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023

Do idioms exist in all languages?

Most languages have their own unique idioms.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 13, 2023

Can euphemisms be misleading?

Sometimes, as they can obscure the true meaning.
Harlon Moss
Nov 13, 2023

Are euphemisms always polite?

Typically, though context and usage can vary.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

Is it necessary to use euphemisms?

In sensitive or formal contexts, they are often preferred.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023

Can idioms change in meaning?

Their usage might evolve, but meanings generally remain constant.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023

Why are idioms important in language?

They add cultural uniqueness and color to language.
Harlon Moss
Nov 13, 2023

Can idioms be confusing to non-native speakers?

Yes, without understanding the cultural context.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

Why might someone avoid euphemisms?

For clarity or to address issues more directly.
Harlon Moss
Nov 13, 2023

Are idioms used in formal writing?

Generally, they are more common in informal language.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023

What's an example of a euphemism in business?

‘Downsizing’ instead of ‘layoffs’.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

How do euphemisms affect communication?

They can soften the impact of what is being communicated.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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