Euphemisms in The Giver

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Euphemisms are used to describe things that are uncomfortable to discuss. In this lesson, we see some examples of euphemisms in 'The Giver' by Lois Lowry.

What is a Euphemism?

Sometimes saying something in a straightforward way can feel harsh, dark, or even morbid. A euphemism is a way of phrasing something so that it is less direct and uncomfortable. In American culture, we use euphemisms every day. Here are some examples:

  • Frequently, we say, 'Go to the bathroom,' instead of being more direct about what we are doing there.
  • 'Chemical Dependency' is a nicer way of saying alcoholic or drug user.
  • 'Heavyset' is used to describe someone who is large or overweight.
  • 'Passed away' is a phrase that means someone died.

In The Giver by Lois Lowry, euphemisms are used extensively. In this case the euphemisms presented in this dystopian novel emphasize how the community has become overdependent on comfort and sameness, and has forgotten the true meaning of the euphemisms themselves. Let's take a look at some examples.

Examples of Euphemisms in Jonas' Community

Understanding the euphemisms that are used in The Giver helps the reader get a clearer picture of what it means to live in Jonas' community of Sameness. Often you can tell a euphemism in this book because they tend to be capitalized. Below are some examples of euphemisms in The Giver:

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