Death Euphemism in English and Arabic: A Conceptual Metaphorization Approach

Mohamed Mazen Galal


This study investigates and compares the conceptualization of death euphemism in English and Arabic as embodied in various euphemistic metaphors using the Conceptual Metaphor Theory initiated by Lakoff and Johnson (1980, 2003). It has been found, based on 442 euphemistic expressions in both languages (192 from Arabic, and 250 from English) that both languages use 10 strikingly similar complex conceptual metaphors to mitigate the effect of death, emanating from blending primary metaphors with cultural assumptions. The two languages share the common human experience of avoiding mentioning death by means of using identical euphemistic conceptual metaphors; however, both languages differ as regards the emphasis, details and range of the complex metaphor. Evidence based on data analysis supports the view about the universality of euphemistic conceptual metaphors.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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