Circumlocution definition

sûrkəm-lō-kyo͝oshən
Frequency:
A roundabout, indirect, or lengthy way of expressing something; periphrasis.
noun
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An instance of this.
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The definition of circumlocution means the use of unneeded words.

An example of circumlocution is the use of the phrase "pass on" instead of "dies."

noun
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The use of unnecessarily wordy language, especially in being vague or evasive.
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A roundabout or indirect way of speaking; the use of more words than necessary to express an idea.
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A roundabout or evasive expression.

Circumlocutions like “go to the bathroom” are often used in place of words that are considered vulgar or indelicate.

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A roundabout expression. See also euphemism.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
circumlocution
Plural:
circumlocutions

Origin of circumlocution

  • Middle English circumlocucioun from Latin circumlocūtiō circumlocūtiōn- from circumlocūtus past participle of circumloquī circum- circum- loquī to speak tolkw- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th 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”).

    From Wiktionary