One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Chiefly Rhetoric. The use of an excessively elaborate or elevated style to discuss a trivial matter; bombastic or laboured language.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Richard Sherry (b. c1505), schoolmaster and author. From classical Latin periergia excessively elaborate rhetorical style (Quintilian) and its etymon Hellenistic Greek περιεργία, already in ancient Greek denoting futility, needless questioning, curiosity, useless learning from περίεργος curious, superfluous, excessively elaborate, in Hellenistic Greek especially of rhetorical style, and in sense ‘taking needless trouble’ + -ία; compare -y.
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