We have different ways of expressing politeness. One of these is the usage of sugar-coated words to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or technically we call it EUPHEMISM.

英語には丁寧な表現方法もあります。これらの一つの表現方法がsugar-coated words(不愉快なことを隠した言葉)です。婉曲表現とも呼びます。

What is Euphemism? 婉曲表現とは?

Euphemism is a figure of speech commonly used to replace a word or phrase that could possibly hurt or make others feel uncomfortable. Euphemism softens the impact of what is being considered as harsh, impolite, or unpleasant. The reason of using Euphemisms would be for the sake of politeness and caution.

Here are some Examples of Euphemism in different fields:



1. Let someone go 解雇する

This Euphemism is commonly used in business. It is more polite than to say “YOU ARE FIRED”. Because when your boss tells you that you are fired you may feel that you did something wrong. On the other hand if your boss tells you that he has to let you go, it sounds like they want you to stay but there are some reasons you can’t.

1. I am sorry you are fired! You can pack your things and leave.
2. I am so sorry but we have to let you go. Hope you can find better opportunities.

この婉曲表現は主にビジネスで使われます。これは、“YOU ARE FIRED”(君はクビだ)と言うより丁寧な表現です。その理由は、上司がクビだと言ったら、もしかしたらあなたは何か間違いをしたからと思ってしまうからです。仮にあなたが上司でこの言葉を使う場合は、本当は部下にいて欲しいけども仕方なく伝えるという表現方法です。

1. 君はクビだ。荷物を片付けて出てってくれ
2. 君は解雇です。あなたが良い仕事を見つけることを祈っています。

2. be between jobs 求職中、休職中

Instead of using the word unemployed or jobless it is better to use this Euphemism because being between jobs means you are still looking for a job.

1. I am unemployed. Do you know some company?
2. I am between jobs. Do you know some company?



3. Put to sleep 眠らせる、安楽死させる

It really hurts to let our pets go but sometimes we have to do it for them not to suffer anymore. This euphemism is used when a pet has to be killed by the vet. It is less harsh and hurtful to say “put him to sleep” than “kill him”.

1. Vet: I am so sorry ma’am but we have to kill your dog, so that he will not suffer anymore.
2. Vet: I am so sorry ma’am but our last option is putting your dog to sleep, so that he will not suffer anymore.


1. 獣医:残念ですが、犬がもう苦しむことがないように、殺さなければなりません。
2.獣医: 残念ですが、最後の選択肢は、犬を眠らせて、もう苦しむことがないようにすることです。

4. Over the rainbow bridge 天国へ行った

Rainbow Bridge refers to other worldly place. For pet lovers it isn’t easy to lose a pet. Instead of saying “My dog died” a person could say “My dog is over the rainbow bridge” to feel assurance that his or her dog is in a good place waiting for him or her to be reunited in another world.

1. I heard your dog died yesterday don’t be sad!
2. I think your dog is over the rainbow bridge don’t be so sad he’s good there.


1. あなたの犬が死んだと聞きました。悲しまないで!
2. あなたの犬は天国に行きましたが、そんなに悲しまないでください。

5. Resting in peace 安らかに眠る

This euphemism is used to lighten up the idea that someone died. Instead of saying it plainly we can say “someone is resting in peace” so that it will sound someone is free from suffering and he is in a peaceful place right now.

1. My great grandfather died yesterday.
2. My great grandfather is resting in peace now.


1. 私の祖父は昨日死にました。
2. 私の祖父は安らかに眠っています。

6. Correctional facility 矯正施設(刑務所)

It actually sounds different but it means jail. Yes, it is quite embarrassing to say someone is in jail or prison but when we say someone is in a correctional facility it sounds like someone is on the process of correcting its mistakes. With that it is less shameful and embarrassing.

1. I heard your brother is in jail.
2. I heard your brother is in a correctional facility.

Correctional facilityとは刑務所を表す言葉です。誰かが刑務所にいると言うのは言いにくいものですが、矯正施設と言うと、何か間違いを矯正しているように聞こえ、言いにくさが少し和らぎます。

1. 君の弟が刑務所に行ったと聞いたよ
2. 君の弟が矯正施設に行ったと聞いたよ

7. Differently-abled 身体障害者

Instead of handicapped or disabled it is better to use differently-abled because it sounds like they can do something but it is just different from normal people and it is really okay because they are not useless, they are just different.

1. Is it easy to have a disabled sibling?
2. Is it easy to have a differently-abled sibling?

handicapped や disabledの代わりに、Differently-abledを使うのが良いです。その理由は何かできるように聞こえ、健常者とは異なりますが出来ないわけではなく、ただ何か少し違うだけのように聞こえる言葉だからです。

1. 障害のある兄弟を持つのは簡単ですか?
2. 違う身体能力のある兄弟を持つのは簡単ですか? 

8. Big-boned 骨太の、体格のがっちりした

Lots of people especially women are very sensitive when we talk about body shape. It is better to be conscious of what words we utter. So, instead of saying fat or overweight it is better to say big-boned. Big-boned means someone’s bones are larger than average. So it is a polite way of saying someone is fat.

1. Your friend is fat!
2. My friend isn’t fat, she’s just big-boned!

特に女性は体型について話すとき非常に敏感です。なので言葉を選んだ方がいいです。Fat というよりbig-bonedという方が望ましいです。big-bonedという意味は、骨が普通の人より大きいことを意味します。だからそれは太っているというより優しい表現になります。

1. 君の友達はデブだ
2. 君の友達はデブじゃない、体格が、がっちりしているだけだ

9. You look good when your mouth is closed 君はとても魅力的だけど少し静かにして

It is very rude to tell someone “shut up!” so instead of saying it, we can use this euphemism that will give him or her a hint that you want him or her to be quiet.

1. Can you please shut up?
2. You know what? You look good when your mouth is closed.


1. 黙ってくれないか?
2. すこし静かにしてください(あなたは静かにしていると魅力的だ)

10. I think I need space 一人になりたい

Instead of saying “go away” it is much better to use this euphemism to give idea to someone that you want her or him to leave.

1. Get lost! Go away!
2. I think I need space, let’s just talk next time.


1. 消えてくれ
2. 私に時間をください。あとで話しましょう。


These are some of the common euphemisms we can drop in our conversation if we want to be more polite. It is very important to show politeness to other people.


日本語でいう「オブラートに包む」という事が英語でいうEuphemism婉曲表現です。学校で丁寧な表現はWould、Could、May等を使うと習いましたが、これだけでは丁寧に表現しきれません。Shout upやGet outにいくら付けたところで、意味は変わりませんので…





* Collaborative editing by CEGA’s staff and teacher Michell