circumlocution office love

circumlocution office


from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a term of ridicule for a governmental office where business is delayed by passing through the hands of different officials.


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  • (noun) - The term circumlocution office carries with it the same idea as "red tape." It was originated by Dickens in Little Dorrit as a skit on the dilatoriness of government offices in transacting business. It was an office where business was habitually muddled up and delayed by high-salaried officials who shirked duties by passing them on to other departments, who in turn passed them elsewhere.

    --J.B. Lippincott's Everyday Phrases Explained, 1913

    January 19, 2018