E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Words or phrases substituted, to soften down offensive expressions.
Place never mentioned to ears polite. In the reign of Charles II., a worthy divine of Whitehall thus concluded his sermon: If you dont live up to the precepts of the Gospel you must expect to receive your reward in a certain place which tis not good manners to mention here (Laconics). Pope tells us this worthy divine was a dean:
To rest the cushton and soft dean invite,
Who never mentioned hell to ears polite.
Moral Essays, epist. iv. 49, 50.
His Satanic majesty; light-fingered gentry; a gentleman on his travels (one transported); she has met with an accident (has had a child before marriage); help or employé (a servant); not quite correct (a falsehood); an obliquity of vision (a squint); an innocent (a fool), beldam (an ugly woman), and hundreds of others.