Here at Language Log Plaza, we've been following the linguistic angles of the Gov. Mark Sanford story ever since he mysteriously went "out of pocket." (See: "Out of pocket," "The biggest self of self is indeed self," "Doing stupid," and "If I wanted to know that I knew that I knew.") But the lasting contribution of the Sanford saga to the English language may very well be the sudden spawning of a political euphemism: "hiking the Appalachian trail."
Mark Peters is the resident euphemism expert on the Visual Thesaurus website, rounding up circumlocutions old and new for his monthly column, Evasive Maneuvers. His latest column, "Hiking the Euphemistic Trail," is a Sanford special.
Mark's column begins:
Will the Appalachian trail ever be the same?
Environmentally, I think so. Linguistically? Not a chance.
Let me put it this way… If you have a dog, and that dog ever made a no-no on something precious, like an $800 carpet, then you have some idea of the kind of impact South Carolina Governor (now known as "The Luv Guv") Mark Sanford has had on the Appalachian trail, specifically in the form of the atomic-wing-hot new euphemism hiking the Appalachian trail, which refers to sexual shenanigans, especially the adulterous kind that waylays political careers.
Mark anoints Sanford our "euphemizer laureate" and looks at how "hiking the Appalachian trail" stacks up against other adultery euphemisms. Read the whole column here.