A euphemism is a word or phrase that is substituted for a word or phrase that is considered to be too straightforward or blunt when referring to something sad, distasteful, or upsetting.
Passed away = dead
Early retirement = fired/let go
Economically disadvantaged = poor
Misspoke = lied
In the family way = pregnant
big-boned = fat
Examples of Euphemism in Literature:
Shakespeare often used euphemism to refer to sex:
In Othello, he referred to sex as "making the beast with two backs."
In Antony and Cleopatra, he referred to sex as "plowed" and becoming pregnant as "cropped": "He plowed her and she cropped."
Thomas Hardy's poem "Afterwards" includes many euphemisms for death:
"When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay"
"If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid's soundless blink, The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades"
"If I pass during some nocturnal blackness"
"If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door,"