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Idioms v cliches v euphemisms

Posted by Robert on June 04, 2003

In Reply to: Idioms v cliches v euphemisms posted by Geoff Bird on June 04, 2003

: What, if any, is the difference between an idiom, a cliche and a euphemism?

: What are good examples of each?

I always understood an idiom to be a phrase composed of words that do not literally indicate its meaning, like "put up with" meaning "tolerate". A cliche is phrase so over-used that it almost has no meaning, like "think outside the box". A euphemism is a way of substituting words to soften or otherwise alter the reality or perception of a certain condition. Examples would be saying that someone "expired" or "passed away" instead of having "died" or saying you're "between jobs" instead of just "unemployed".

See also: the meaning and origin of 'outside the box'.