The best corporate euphemism.

Slate's audio offerings.
Sept. 21 2006 1:00 PM

Rightsize That Euphemism!

Slate's language contest returns.

Click here  * to play or download Slate's latest euphemisms audio contest, featuring Atlantic Monthly language columnist Barbara Wallraff.

Last month, we asked Slate readers and podcast listeners to help us crown the best euphemism from the corporate world. Our contest curator, Barbara Wallraff, received lots of great entries, and she's back on today's podcast to unveil her favorite, along with numerous runners up.

Andy Bowers Andy Bowers

Andy Bowers is the executive producer of Slate’s podcasts. Follow him on Twitter.


You don't need an iPod to hear the program—you can play it right from your computer by clicking here *. Among other things, we discuss the many, many euphemisms for being fired (including the euphemistic origins of the term "fired" itself).

The show also contains a new challenge. Barbara now wants your help finding the very best euphemism for dead. As always, we strongly recommend that you listen to the program before entering the contest (although you won't be pushing up daisies if you don't). Here are the entry details:

The deadline: Sept. 30, 2006
The e-mail address:
The prize: none (sorry). But winners will be noted on Barbara's Web site, and she may include worthy entries in a future book (not unlike her most recent book, Word Fugitives).

(By entering this contest, you grant Slate permission to use your name unless you expressly request otherwise.)

For comments, not contest entries, write us at

* If clicking on the link doesn't start the audio playing on your system, or if you prefer to download it, try right-clicking (Windows) or holding down the Control key while you click (Mac), and then "save" or "download" the audio file to your hard drive.


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.