20 of your favourite euphemisms

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake Malfunction - Jackson's bodice burst open in a performance at the Superbowl

A Magazine feature about some well-known euphemisms got readers thinking about some of their favourites. Here is a selection.

1. "Spending more time with the family" is used as a general statement by politicians who have been forced to resign because of some low-level scandal they don't wish to admit / comment on. Neil, Chessington, Surrey

2. Surely it has to be Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction". Lucy Wijsveld, Croydon

3. The phrase "circling over Shannon" briefly became a euphemism in Ireland for trying desperately to sober up before an important event, after an incident where Boris Yeltsin was too "tired and emotional" to get off a plane at Shannon Airport to meet Albert Reynolds. John O'Dwyer, London, UK

4. "Sometimes..... I park my car in the wrong driveway" Roger Stirling's apology to Don Draper [in US drama Mad Men] for being highly flirtatious with Don's wife while drunk. Barry, Guildford

5. @BBCNewsMagazine A mum in Devon once told her child that a bull mounting a nearby cow was actually "looking at Lundy" [an island in the Bristol Channel] #euphemism @pstni

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Magazine feature

6. My very old grandmother would use the expression that he or she was "light on his/her feet" . As a child I believed that this referred to the terpsichorean skills of a person. In later life I learned that she was referring to their sexual ambiguity. Still used among family and friends. Denis Price, Beverley, East Yorks

7. "Extreme Rendition" A term coined by our "allies" to cover the illegal transportation of foreign nationals (possibly "terrorists") across international borders, illegally. Martin Lindridge, St Albans, UK

8. @BBCNewsMagazine Love "Speaking on the big white Telephone" for being violently unwell (another #euphemism!) @paulbelmontesli

9. Unfavourite euphemism. "Passed away" or "Lost" as in "I lost my husband". People do neither of these things. They DIE. Margaret Taylor, Iver, Bucks

10. In the 70s a lot of LSD seemed to be produced in or around Lincoln and it was common when asking what someone was doing at the weekend to have them reply "I am going to Lincoln" meaning they were going to be dropping acid. Bee Wyeth, London

11. @BBCNewsMagazine Intensely convivial = drunkard. #euphemism @ajhill_alan

12. In an article in the Seattle Times about a couple who seemed to like doing it a lot, it was referred to "Going to Tukwila". David Lilly, Seattle, US

13. A huge generalisation I know, but anything that was hush hush, was a little suspicious or was offered as a reason for absence was "Oh, I had/have to see a man about a dog." Bob, UK

14. One of my favourite euphemisms, "Shaking hands with a friend of the wife" or rather, to take a short trip to the bathroom. Nigel Ward, Cwmbran

15. My family inheritance is a nice line of tall stories, mainly due to my ancestors being a mix of pioneers who travelled to America, Canada and Africa through the centuries. These fables get bigger and bigger with telling and are now bound up in one big catchphrase "They paddled up the Mohawk River!" If my mother is paddling up the Mohawk River, it means she is telling a story, which might have roots in the truth but has now spun out of control and is bordering on fantasy. Sophie, Highlands

16. I believe the late [British broadcaster] Ned Sherrin used to say that he had "lunched well", meaning he had overindulged in a local hostelry. Bob Rushworth, Hitchin, Herts

17. My favourite is the phrase "operative statement" which a Nixon White House press secretary used to describe any of those statements he made which were actually true. False statements were dubbed "inoperative", much to the disbelief and amusement of the Washington press corps. Mark Bradby, Minneapolis, US

18. "Likes their Wagner" So much more polite way of describing a member of the aristocracy who thought that the Nazis were a breath of fresh air in European politics. Allan Henderson, Glasgow, Scotland

19. "No stranger to Greggs" = fat. Jen Bainbridge, Leeds, West Yorks

20. "A full day Keith" Used by a friend's mother when talking to others about what she and her husband had done. "We have had a full day Keith". Now used by all the family and friends to describe a busy day. Subsequently a revised version has been adopted to describe a busy morning or afternoon. A half day Hilda. Hilda is Keith's wife. Robert, Scarborough

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