The Euphemism Treadmill…

John McWhorter

I recently saw an interview (too short) with John McWhorter, linguist, teacher and author. He spoke of our euphemism treadmill and how it relates to our everyday speech and language. I was fascinated! 

If you follow me, with any regularity, you know that not only is my chief craft writing, but I am also fascinated with words, their origins, our slang, our euphemisms, and colloquialisms. If we step off the euphemism treadmill, or never get on in the first place, we are quickly unplugged by what people around us are saying.  I give you an example:  I recently wrote another play for teens and I thought, ‘opps, I’d better check teen euphemisms/slang just in case it’s changed since I last used such words as: ridiculous, sick, cool, etc.’ Yep! They’d left me in the dust…none of these words were ‘cool’ anymore.  

Teen Slang 2018

Woke – as being aware, and “knowing what’s going on in the community.” It also mentions its specific ties to racism and social injustice.
Bruh–A casual nickname for “bro”

Idts.–I don’t think so
Ngl– not gonna lie
Fam–Their closest friends
GOAT–Acronym for “Greatest of all time!”
TBH–Acronym for “To be honest”
It’s lit–Short for “It’s cool or awesome!”
I’m weak–Short for “That was funny!”
Hundo P–Short for 100% sure or certain
Gucci–Something is good or cool
Squad–Term for their friend group
Bae–Short for “baby.” It’s used as a term of endearment for a significant other such as a girlfriend or boyfriend. As an acronym, it stands for “Before Anyone Else.”
Curve–To reject someone romantically
Low Key–A warning that what they’re saying isn’t something they want everyone to know
Salty–To be bitter about something or someone
Skurt–To go away or leave
Throw shade–To give someone a nasty look or say something unpleasant about them.
Straight fire–Something is hot or trendy
Sip tea–To mind your own business
Thirsty–Being desperate for something

Writers: Be judicious and thoughtful when you use slang or euphemisms in y our writing. It can quickly turn into lazy writing. 

My blog is filled with word craft, origins of words, slang, and euphemisms. My least favorite euphemism is Snap! = a concise, or biting remark was just delivered. And ‘no problem that has replaced ‘you’re welcome’ as the universal response to ‘thank you’.  Hate it!

My favorite will always be the post about Mr. Crapper, the plumber. 


MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
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