A hilarious study of the “birth,” “death” and functions of euphemisms. Euphemisms, or “comfort words” as Keyes calls them, serve the purpose of camouflaging what is considered to be socially unpalatable. More often than not, they are used in the context of taboo topics such as bodily waste, the human anatomy and sex. The anecdotes that Keyes provides in each section are highly enjoy able. But what is equally illuminating is the manner in which Keyes shows how euphemisms are shaped by social conditions and by history.