1. The use of unnecessarily wordy language, especially in being vague or evasive.
2. A roundabout or evasive expression: Circumlocutions like “go to the bathroom” are often used in place of words that are considered vulgar or indelicate.
[Middle English circumlocucioun, from Latin circumlocūtiō, circumlocūtiōn-, from circumlocūtus, past participle of circumloquī : circum-, circum- + loquī, to speak; see tolkw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
cir′cum·loc′u·to′ri·ly (-lŏk′yə-tôr′ə-lē) adv.
cir′cum·loc′u·to′ry (-tôr′ē) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. an indirect way of expressing something
2. an indirect expression
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
cir•cum•lo•cu•tion (ˌsɜr kəm loʊˈkyu ʃən)
1. a roundabout or indirect way of speaking; the use of more words than necessary to express an idea.
2. a roundabout expression.
[1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin circumlocūtiō]
cir`cum•loc′u•to`ry (-ˈlɒk yəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i) adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
An indirect way of saying something, or the use of indirect modes of expression.
circumlocution – an indirect way of expressing something
equivocation, evasion – a statement that is not literally false but that cleverly avoids an unpleasant truth
noun indirectness, redundancy, euphemism, beating about the bush (informal), wordiness, diffuseness, prolixity, discursiveness He is long-winded and prone to circumlocution in his public speeches.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
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