Obvious euphemisms

One thing that angers me about the current situation in the Gulf of Mexico is BP’s constant use of euphemisms to downplay the severity of the disaster.

The main – and most anger-inducing – one of these is continually referring to it as an “oil spill”. It is most certainly not a spill. According to dictionary.com, a “spill” is:

spill verb
(of a liquid, loose particles, etc.) to run or escape from a container, esp. by accident or in careless handling.

This is not oil escaping from a container – this is oil escaping from a well. Pedants may argue that a well is a container or sorts, but the main difference here is that “spill” implies that it is a finished event – if you spill a glass of milk, the spill is limited to how much milk was in the glass.

However, when the ocean awash with millions upon millions of gallons of oil that is still spilling, it is a leak.

At least we can all agree on one word that describes the situation: a disaster.

Comments on Obvious euphemisms