The list of synonyms for “fired” is long and growing, as corporations attempt to distance themselves from the gloomy realities of ruthless staff-slashing.
“Demised” is etymologically accurate—the Latin roots mean “to send away”—but its kinship with the synonym for “death” makes it more of a dysphemism than a euphemism.
I wrote about the legal meaning of demise—“to grant or transfer by will or lease”—in April 2012. The original meaning of “demise,” from the mid-15th century, was the legal one; the meaning was extended to “death” (because that’s when estate transfers usually occur) in the mid-18th century.
It’s Death Week on Fritinancy: a daily report on deathly words, names, and branding, culminating on All Hallows Eve, October 31. Read my previous “death” posts.