It means they dont want to do it ever if they dont

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in a few weeks’ time. It means they don’t want to do it, ever. If they don’t want to tell you what is going on they will say vaguely they are bu qingchu: literally “I’m not clear.” One feature of Chinese euphemisms comes from the tonal nature of the language. Yan is slang for cigarettes; jiu means alcohol. But, with different tones, the two syllables together can also mean “to research”. So a corrupt official being asked to do something might suggest, “Let’s research ( yanjiu ) this issue together”, by which he would probably mean, “Give me some cigarettes and some alcohol and I’ll make it happen.” The British are probably the world champions of euphemism. The best of these are widely understood (at least among natives), creating a pleasant sense of complicity between the euphemist and his audience. British newspaper obituaries are a rich seam: nobody likes to speak ill of the dead, yet many enjoy a hint of the truth about the person who has “passed away”. A drunkard will be described as “convivial” or “cheery”. Unbearably garrulous is “sociable” or the dread “ebullient”; “lively wit” means a penchant for telling cruel and unfunny stories. “Austere” and “reserved” mean joyless and depressed. Someone with a foul temper “did not suffer fools gladly”. The priapic will have “enjoyed female company”; nymphomania is “notable vivacity”. Uncontrollable appetites of all sorts may earn the ultimate accolade: “He lived life to the full.” Such euphemisms are a pleasant echo of an age when private lives enjoyed a degree of protective discretion that now seems unimaginable in Britain. That left room for “a confirmed bachelor” (a homosexual) or someone “burdened by occasional irregularities in his private life” (leaving the reader guessing whether the problem was indecent exposure, adultery or cross- dressing). Writing about dead people is a question only of taste, because they can’t sue. Describing the living (especially in libel-happy jurisdictions such as England) requires prudence. “Thirsty” applied to a British public figure usually means heavy drinking; “tired and emotional” (a term that has moved from the pages of Private Eye , a satirical magazine, into general parlance) means visibly drunk. “Hands-on mentoring” of a junior colleague can be code for an affair, hopefully not coupled with a “volatile” personality, which means terrifying eruptions of temper. References to “rumbustious” business practices or “controversial”, “murky” and “questionable” conduct usually mean the journalist believes something illegal is going on, but couldn’t stand it up in court if sued. In the upper reaches of the British establishment, euphemism is a fine art, one that new arrivals need to master quickly. “Other Whitehall agencies” or “our friends over the river” means the intelligence services (American spooks often say they “work for the government”). A civil servant warning a minister that a decision would be “courageous” is saying that it will be career- cripplingly unpopular. “Adventurous” is even worse: it means mad and unworkable. A “frank discussion” is a row, while a “robust exchange of views” is a full-scale shouting match. (These
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It means they dont want to do it ever If they dont want to...

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