The Smartest Way To Say Stupid

Slate’s new euphemisms contest.

Click here * to play or download Slate’s first Euphemisms audio contest, featuring Atlantic Monthly language columnist Barbara Wallraff.

Do you know someone who’s … how to put it nicely … one brick short of a load? Well, putting it nicely is the subject of Slate’s latest contest: Who can come up with the all-time best euphemism for stupidity?

Our contest curator is none other than Barbara Wallraff, words columnist for the Atlanticand author of Word Fugitives.In our first installment, which you can listen to here *, Barbara and I discuss what she’s looking for in a winning entry, and she gives some examples of what she does and doesn’t mean by euphemism.


We’ve set up a special e-mail address for entries (but we strongly urge you to listen to the audio program before entering—not doing so could suggest you’re … as sharp as a cotton puff).


Send your euphemisms to: podcast@wordcourt.com. The deadline for entering the contest is July 31. We’ll announce the winner in early August. (By entering this contest, you grant Slatepermission to use your name unless you expressly request otherwise.)

We’re looking forward to your submissions, because if there’s one thing we know about Slate readers and listeners, it’s that you definitely are the sharpest tools in the shed.

* 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.