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Saint Ignatius High School

Etymology Word of the Week

Director of Admissions Pat O'Rourke '90, a self-proclaimed "word nerd," brings you his Etymology Word of the Week. Every other week he presents an online Etymology lesson just for fun!

Etymology Word of the Week – As some of you know, in addition to working in the Admissions Office, I also teach Latin at Saint Ignatius and am something of a "word nerd."  Thus, each week, I’ll sneak a vocabulary word (sometimes derived from Latin, sometimes not) into the e-blast.  Here, then. is this week’s edition of the Etymology Word of the Week.  


Definition: “The substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.” 

Origin/Derivation: From the Greek roots eu- meaning “good, well” and pheme/phanai meaning “speaking, saying, telling.” 

Related Words/Phrases: blasphemy (“hurtful speech”), Eucharist, Eumenides (from Greek mythology, a.k.a. the Furies), eulogy (“good speech”), eucalyptus, eugenics (“good birth/genes”), euphoria, euthanasia (“good death”)


Image Caption: Which phrase sounds nicer, “garbage dump” or “landfill”?

(All information is from www.wikipedia.org, www.etymonline.com and/or www.dictionary.com)