Don't Go There: Words and Expressions to Avoid 248 As you learned in the previous chapter, use words that are appropriate to your audience and pur- pose. In nearly all cases, the best choices are those most easily understood by your readers. Euphemisms: Sleeping with the Fishes What do all the following expressions have in common? · Cashed in his/her chips · Bit the big one · Kicked the bucket · Pushing up daisies · Visiting the W.C. · Potty trained · Powdering my nose · Seeing a man about a horse They're are all euphemisms, inoffensive or positive words or phrases used to avoid a harsh reality. The phrases on the left refer to death; those on the right refer to bathroom activities. Euphemisms are a type of doublespeak because they cloud the truth. You find them used with all potentially embarrassing topics, such as death, nudity, body parts, sex, aging, and bathroom activities. Euphemisms are not doublespeak when they are used to spare someone's feelings or out of concern for a recognized social custom, as when you say, "I am sorry your sister passed away," rather than "I am sorry your sister died." But most of the time, euphe-misms drain meaning from truthful writing. Avoid euphemisms if they obscure your meaning. Use them to spare someone's feelings, especially in delicate situations. Take My Word for It