Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being or taking a roundabout, lengthy course: took a circuitous route to avoid the accident site.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not direct or to the point.
  • adj. Of a long and winding route.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Going round in a circuit; roundabout; indirect.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Going round in a circuit; not direct; roundabout: as, a circuitous road or course; “circuitous means,”

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. marked by obliqueness or indirection in speech or conduct
  • adj. deviating from a straight course

Etymologies

From Medieval Latin circuitōsus, from Latin circuitus, a going around; see circuit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested in 1664. From Latin circuitōsus, from circuitus, from circumeō "I go around", from circum "around + "I go" (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • “Move” also encompasses movement sideways or in circuitous looping motions rather than linear A-B progress.

    P is for Push « An A-Z of ELT

  • Perhaps being circuitous is also a security procedure.

    JSC Flyover: Missed Opportunity - NASA Watch

  • Joe Schildhorn/BFA Jessica Biel and Giambattista Valli The oracle award goes to "a broad mix of people that have an impact on the industry, what I would call a circuitous impact," said Margaret Hayes , president of Fashion Group International.

    And the Fashion Award Goes to …

  • If all of this sounds circuitous, that is because it is; and this is one reason why the recovery process in the housing market is so slow and agonizing.

    FXstreet.com

  • Mr. F.H. Dale, an English Inspector of Schools, who, in the last couple of years, has produced two comprehensive blue books on the state of primary and secondary education in Ireland, declared that he found the desire for higher education in Ireland greater than in England; but in spite of this, so far, neither British party has advanced one step in the direction of a permanent solution, pleading as excuse that the fear of strengthening the hands of the priests blocks the way, albeit a university under predominatingly lay control is all that even the hierarchy in Ireland demand; while to add to the groundlessness on which intolerance is based the only institution of a satisfactory kind which is endowed by the State is a Jesuit College supported by what one can only call circuitous means.

    Ireland and the Home Rule Movement

  • I understand that The Middleman took a kind of circuitous route to get to ABC Family.

    HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: Surprise! The Middleman’s Creator is a Fanboy!

  • NETTLETON PAYNE, NEUROLOGIST: But it's available on very limited supply through a very kind of circuitous route.

    CNN Transcript - Breaking News: FDA Approves 'Abortion Pill' - September 28, 2000

  • NETTLETON PAYNE, DORIS LAIRD'S PHYSICIAN: But it's available on a very limited supply through a very kind of circuitous route.

    CNN Transcript - Breaking News: FDA Approves 'Abortion Pill' Use in U.S. - September 28, 2000

  • If you believe that Wall Street has been deceptive, could have been fraudulent or tried to dupe the public, and with these subprime loans and with the kind of circuitous financing that's been done, Wall Street cannot produce the deed nor the mortgage audit trail, you need a lawyer.

    Organic Consumers Association News Headlines

  • Community Development Director Allen Davis said the swap was rejected for several reasons, but mainly because it would have created a "circuitous" trail link providing relatively poor access to the neighborhood.

    The Appleton Post-Crescent Latest Headlines

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