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by Dr. Joern Meissner, Academic Director, Manhattan Review | March 10, 2009


A mastery of euphemistic expressions can serve you well professionally. These subtle and politically correct phrases are often vague and subject to individual interpretation. They are most useful when you want to avoid being

  • Direct
  • Negative
  • Obvious
  • Overbearing

Here are some quick examples.

Example 1: "Inclusive"
Meaning: With an objective view; without prejudice or bias.
Sample usage: We should use inclusive language in our report so that it addresses to the needs of all parties.

Example 2: "Anomaly"
Meaning: Something wrong; An unsatisfactory and unexpected inconsistency.
Sample usage: He is usually very accurate. His last research article must be an anomaly!

Example 3: "Finesse"
Meaning: To achieve an objective through less than honest means.
Sample usage: Even though he is not very capable, he somehow finessed his way to top management.

Example 4: "Stretch the truth"
Meaning: To be dishonest.
Sample usage: When he bragged to his friends about his salary, he was stretching the truth. His actual income was much less than he said it was.

Example 5: "Take something under advisement"
Meaning: To consider something. (Often connotes that it will be ignored; used for more formal occasions.)
Sample usage: I came up with some great ideas for the new ad campaign. My boss said she'd take my ideas under advisement. I guess she didn't like them as much as I did.

Example 6: "Adjustment"
Meaning: A reduction.
Sample usage: The unexpected adjustment in my salary was announced by my boss this afternoon. I have to cut down on my expenses to make my ends meet each month. We just experienced some adjustment in the head count. I don't know how long I will be here.

Example 7: "Selective"
Meaning: Dishonest Sample usage: He was quite selective in telling his boss the reasons the tasks didn't get completed.

Example 8: "Bend the rules"
Meaning: Compromising set standards; To be flexible.
Sample usage: The Company's vacation policy may seem strict, but our department has been known to bend the rules every now and then.

Example 9: "I hear you"
Meaning: I heard what you said but have a different opinion.
Sample usage: I hear you, but I think that if we were to buy that stock we'd be taking a huge risk for little gain.

Example 10: "Strong language"
Meaning: Curses; swear words.
Sample usage: We know our boss is serious when he starts to use strong language.

Example 11: "Careful with one's money"
Meaning: Financial caution. Withholding financially.
Sample usage: Our boss is very careful with his money. Sarah realized that she needed to be much more careful with her money.

Example 12: "Close with one's money"
Meaning: Stingy; not generous with money.
Sample usage: Don't ask Chuck for a contribution to the bonus pool for all the assistants! He is so close with his money that it is not possible for him to chip in just a paltry $20.

About Manhattan Review

Manhattan Review, founded in 1999, is a multi-national educational services firm focusing on GMAT & TOEFL preparation (weekend crash course, 4-week long course, one-week intensive course, 9-week live online interactive course & private tutoring). Many of our students have improved their GMAT score by 60-120 points and been accepted by LBS, Columbia, Chicago, ESADE and other top-tier MBA programs. Our Turbocharge Your GMAT study guides have received rave reviews and are available on We also provide Career Training courses, MBA Admissions and Management Training courses and services. Dr. Joern Meissner, the founder, has over 15 years of teaching experiences at prestigious business schools in the USA, UK and Germany.

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