Category Archives: Euphemisms

Euphemistically Speaking – Biographical Leverage

InterrobangRecently I was confronted with the term ‘biographical leverage‘ and thought to myself ‘…whatever could possibly be meant by that?

Turns out that biographical leverage is the sanitised form of the irregular verb – to blackmail.

This is a neat example of the doublespeak that is creeping into our every day language whether through political correctness, a desire to disguise moral repugnancy or to sanitise the otherwise unsanitary and indigestible for consumption by the average and right thinking man or woman in the street.

The verb ‘to blackmail‘ conjugates something like this –

Present Infinitive:- blackmail
Example: That’s blackmail!

First Person Singular:- biographical leverage
Example: I am exerting biographical leverage.

Second Person Singular:- keeping other’s secrets
Example: You are keeping his secrets.

Third Person Singular:- blackmail
Example: She is blackmailing me!

This is the sort of  double-speak of which Sir Humphrey Appleby would be rightly proud.


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