circumlocution love

Definitions

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

  • n. The use of unnecessarily wordy and indirect language.
  • n. Evasion in speech or writing.
  • n. A roundabout expression.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A roundabout or indirect way of speaking; the use of more words than necessary to express an idea.
  • n. A roundabout expression. See also euphemism

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The use of many words to express an idea that might be expressed by few; indirect or roundabout language; a periphrase.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A roundabout way of speaking; an indirect mode of statement; particularly, a studied indirectness or evasiveness of language in speaking or writing.

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

  • n. a style that involves indirect ways of expressing things
  • n. an indirect way of expressing something

Etymologies

Middle English circumlocucioun, from Latin circumlocūtiō, circumlocūtiōn-, from circumlocūtus, past participle of circumloquī : circum-, circum- + loquī, to speak; see tolkw- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin circumlocūtiō ("the act of speaking around; circumlocution, periphrasis"). Surface analysis circum- (“around”) +‎ locution (“talk”); see these for related terms. Probably a calque of Ancient Greek περίφρασις (periphrasis, "periphrasis"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It comes to the same thing, no doubt, but the circumlocution is significant.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • Another unnecessary use of words and phrases is that which is termed circumlocution, a going around the bush when there is no occasion for it, -- save to fill space.

    How to Speak and Write Correctly

  • His circumlocution was a suave way of stating that he had done all that could be expected of a neighbor and benevolent friend, and that the ordinary relation of broker and customer ought now be established.

    Unleavened Bread

  • I was a rich heiress -- I had, I believe, a hundred thousand pounds, or more, and twice as many caprices: I was handsome and witty -- or, to speak with that kind of circumlocution which is called humility, the world, the partial world, thought me a beauty and a bel-esprit.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 03

  • I was a rich heiress – I had, I believe, a hundred thousand pounds, or more, and twice as many caprices: I was handsome and witty – or, to speak with that kind of circumlocution which is called humility, the world, the partial world, thought me a beauty and a bel-esprit.

    Belinda

  • “Partial” birth and post-birth abortions are, de facto, equivalent to infanticide, to suggest otherwise or to elide that fact via circumlocution or other semantic finessing is precisely that, evasion.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The “Racist” Charge

  • Some words get translated using circumlocution: a scanner (or scanner in Italian), as in a flatbed scanner, is an apparatus opticus et electronicus ad legendam imaginem: an optical and electronic device for reading images.

    The Vatican’s Dictionary of Recent Latinity « The Half-Baked Maker

  • All along she has been, notwithstanding the weaselly circumlocution 'cleared by the Commons Authorities', effectively looting the public purse to maintain her family home.

    Home is where the heart is, Home Secretary

  • The present shiftiness, circumlocution and evasion is doing the party nothing but harm.

    A Cowardly Lack Of National Leadership

  • Whilst Ronspeak comes with a certain level of corporate cliche, and its use of prosaic circumlocution can be irritating to some, the scale of Ron's achievement in the most competitive business in the world, bestows upon his utterances a sense of weight and solemnity, perhaps in the same way that the Higgs field purportedly bestows mass upon electrons and quarks.

    Archive 2009-01-01

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Comments

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  • It appears described- graphically, and sarcastically- as an indispensable part of the British government bureaucracy in Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit, Ch.X,"Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving- HOW NOT TO DO IT."

    June 30, 2009

  • From Richard Dawkin's recent article about evolution: "Yet the philosophy that imposes such scruples on science has no basis for absolving everyday facts from the same circumlocution."

    February 18, 2009

  • the definition of this word is about the word itself, "an expressive style that uses excessive or empty words"

    November 14, 2008

  • this is befitting for political debates.
    a roundabout or indirect way of speaking; the use of more words than necessary to express an idea.

    October 10, 2008

  • It's classic beating around the bush. Geekmum, it one of my forever and ever faves.

    August 9, 2008

  • See periphrasis.

    July 23, 2008

  • Circumlocution is one of my favorite words because... well... I love words. Why use one lonely word when you can have a word party? While the rest of the world casts a frown on redundancy, I shall instead celebrate it. The more the merrier, I say. (And I believe I might be in good company here.)

    January 1, 2008

  • Euphemism is a kind of cousin-word, it strikes me...

    April 13, 2007