Euphemisms for … Sex

Plus, help us find the best way to say drunk.

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

There is quite probably no topic better suited to euphemism than, as it were, “playing cars and garages.”

In fact, it’s been noted that almost any phrase can be made to sound like a reference to sex, simply by adding the nudge-nudge clause “if you know what I mean.”

Example: “Did you butter that bread, if you know what I mean?”


But last month, when we threw the challenge out to our readers to find the best euphemism for sex, they responded with some remarkably funny and apropos turns of phrase, many drawn from their own lives. You can hear the story behind terms like “waxing the giraffe,” and find out what euphemism was judged the very best by contest curator Barbara Wallraff, by clicking here. *


You don’t need an iPod or other portable audio device to hear the program—you can play it right from your computer.

The program also contains the details of our next euphemism contest. In this one, we’re looking for your favorite ways to describe the state many of us will find ourselves in on New Year’s Eve. That is, we want the best euphemism for drunk.


As always, we strongly recommend that you listen to the program before submitting an entry. Here are the details:

The deadline: Jan. 7, 2007.
The e-mail address: podcast@wordcourt.com.
The prize: None (sorry). But winners will be noted on Barbara’s Web site, www.wordcourt.com, 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 podcasts@slate.com.

* 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 use the “save” or “download” command to save the audio file to your hard drive.