I google(define euphemism)

Then I found this sentence "the jargon has given us ‘downsizing’ as a euphemism for cuts" Could someone help me to understand this sentence?

I tried translating it to my native langauge, but it didn't work.

I understood the meaning of the words:-

euphemism = words used intead of other words which are rude

jargon = words particular to certain field or profession

  • downsizing versus reducing the number of employees, not just the word cuts. cutting the number of employees.
    – Lambie
    Jun 13, 2020 at 16:06
  • 2
    A euphemism is used, not so much for 'rude' words as for words which represent unpleasant or disturbing ideas (here, job cuts - a company reducing the number of its employees). Jun 13, 2020 at 16:55

4 Answers 4


It is very simple. It is not just words that are insulting that become subject to euphemism; any word that has negative feelings associated with it may become subject to a euphemism.

Company A fired 3,000 workers in an effort to restore profitability

focuses attention on the consequences to human beings. It will not inspire friendly thoughts about Company A except among Company A's shareholders, and even they may feel regretful.

Company A implemented its plan to downsize operations and restore profitability today by eliminating 3,000 non-critical positions

attempts to draw attention away from the human consequences by avoiding fear-inspiring words like "firing" and replacing the word "workers," who are human, with "positions," which are boxes on an organization chart.

The word "jargon" in the quotation may not be completely appropriate. I'd need to see the context. Jargon does mean words particular to a certain field or profession or group, and frequently means in addition words that are not commonly understood even by native speakers. Every native speaker, however, understands what "corporate downsizing" means, and I do not know of a group where it is part of a specialized vocabulary. "Jargon" is probably being used loosely in this quotation (as I said, I cannot be sure without greater context). The meaning is

this style of speaking has given us "downsizing" as a euphemism for "mass firings."


To announce that your company is undergoing "cuts" is bad PR. It sounds as though the company is in trouble, and people will lose all faith in the brand.

On the other hand, the euphemism "downsizing" is supposed to make it look as though the company is doing something "positive" and "proactive". Because the word sounds more "professional", so to does the action.

The word "euphemism" means, at base, a word that "sounds good". It tries to hide an unpleasant reality by merely alluding to the truth it obscures. And in this instance, "downsizing" means "changing the size of the company downwards", which obscures the fact that it actually means "reducing the number of staff", which can be put bluntly, rudely, uncomfortably, unpopularly, and unspeakably, but above all truthfully, as "cuts".


It means that downsizing is included in the list of jargon words.


The need for a more palatable, nicer term for "cutting" or "firing" of an employee in the event of cutbacks, personnel cuts, cost cutting, etc., has resulted in the creation of the word "downsizing"

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