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Channeling a bit of Edwin Newman, whose book Strictly Speaking: Will America be the Death of English? needs rereading, I offer two euphemisms that form the source of today’s mini-rant from the inner sanctum of Ms. Anne Thrope’s Coffee-Backgammon-and Chess Club.

  1. someone passed as in passed away or passed on.
  2. “that X (cheesecake, fricassee, whatever) is to die for.”

I’ve heard people say that their use of passed is a form of gentility and respect because the less ambiguous statement that someone died seems harsh. No one says, “that cheesecake is to pass for.” If we’re willing to die for a slice of cake, then we should be able to speak of the reality of death as part of human existence. I’ll entertain your reflection on this.

As for me, I may die for a cause, but not a slice of pie.