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circumlocution

[sur-kuh m-loh-kyoo-shuh n] /ˌsɜr kəm loʊˈkyu ʃən/
noun
1.
a roundabout or indirect way of speaking; the use of more words than necessary to express an idea.
2.
a roundabout expression.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin circumlocūtiōn- (stem of circumlocūtiō). See circum-, locution
Related forms
circumlocutory
[sur-kuh m-lok-yuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˌsɜr kəmˈlɒk yəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
circumlocutional, circumlocutionary, adjective
uncircumlocutory, adjective
Synonyms
1. rambling, meandering, verbosity, prolixity.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for circumlocution

circumlocution

/ˌsɜːkəmləˈkjuːʃən/
noun
1.
an indirect way of expressing something
2.
an indirect expression
Derived Forms
circumlocutory (ˌsɜːkəmˈlɒkjʊtərɪ; -trɪ) adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for circumlocution
n.

c.1400, from Latin circumlocutionem (nominative circumlocutio) "a speaking around" (the topic), from circum- "around" (see circum-) + locutionem (nominative locutio) "a speaking," noun of action from past participle stem of loqui "to speak" (see locution). A loan-translation of Greek periphrasis (see periphrasis).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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circumlocution in Culture
circumlocution [(sur-kuhm-loh-kyooh-shuhn)]

Roundabout speech or writing: “The driveway was not unlike that military training device known as an obstacle course” is a circumlocution for “The driveway resembled an obstacle course.” Circumlocution comes from Latin words meaning “speaking around.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for circumlocution

the use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter form of expression; a roundabout or indirect manner of writing or speaking. In literature periphrasis is sometimes used for comic effect, as illustrated by Charles Dickens in the speech of the character Wilkins Micawber, who appears in David Copperfield:"Under the impression," said Mr. Micawber, "that your peregrinations in this metropolis have not as yet been extensive, and that you might have some difficulty in penetrating the arcana of the Modern Babylon in the direction of the City Road-in short," said Mr. Micawber, in another burst of confidence, "that you might lose yourself-I shall be happy to call this evening, and instal you in the knowledge of the nearest way."

Learn more about circumlocution with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Difficulty index for circumlocution

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Word Value for circumlocution

22
30
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