Definition of circumlocution in English:

circumlocution

noun

mass noun
  • The use of many words where fewer would do, especially in a deliberate attempt to be vague or evasive.

    ‘his admission came after years of circumlocution’
    count noun ‘he used a number of poetic circumlocutions’
    • ‘Her style can only be described as hectoring, irritating and occasionally maddening in its circumlocution.’
    • ‘He has wisely retained many Marathi words in the text, thus avoiding plodding English circumlocutions such as ‘flat millet bread’ for bhakri.’
    • ‘The replies I got were pure circumlocution and double talk, nowadays referred to as spin.’
    • ‘He produced yet another quite captivating display of loquacious circumlocution as he tackled questions from the press about the way he has run the team recently.’
    • ‘Everyday language uses a number of euphemisms, including polite formulas, circumlocutions, allusions, and stock phrases.’
    • ‘No more circumlocution - just tell us, straight out: what are we supposed to do?’
    • ‘The Navajo language is complex, and through circumlocution the Code Talkers made it even more so.’
    • ‘He is witty, he puns, and sometimes he employs the polysyllabic circumlocution of the nineteenth-century humorists.’
    • ‘In order to refer to that activity, it is necessary to engage in circumlocution or periphrasis.’
    • ‘Pidgins may compensate for lack of vocabulary through circumlocution.’
    • ‘Despite the circumlocution used, the parties all appeared to understand one another.’
    • ‘There was a good deal of rhetoric, circumlocution and imprecision in language.’
    • ‘Alas, for every valuable insight which emerges, we find a greater proportion of heady rhetoric and circumlocution.’
    • ‘Americans, in particular the US military-industrial complex, are masters of jargon and circumlocution, but they can't be blamed for everything.’
    • ‘Large bureaucracies seem to inherently foster a culture that favours circumlocution, jargon and euphemism.’
    • ‘O'Neill, despite his apparent affability and a tendency to circumlocution, is a tough little nut.’
    • ‘In Wales, the leadership of Plaid Cymru was always a bit bashful about independence, resorting to circumlocutions like ‘full national status’.’
    • ‘The company has dispensed with traditional legal circumlocution with its latest court filings against its rival.’
    • ‘A certain kind of Briton prefers circumlocution and euphemism for even everyday speech: ‘I wonder if I could trouble you for a glass of water?’’
    • ‘Other common strategies used to save face for others include the use of circumlocution and equivocation when criticism of another's performance is unavoidable.’
    periphrasis, circuitousness, indirectness
    View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin circumlocutio(n-) (translating Greek periphrasis), from circum ‘around’ + locutio(n-) from loqui ‘speak’.

Pronunciation

circumlocution

/ˌsəːkəmləˈkjuːʃ(ə)n/