Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday October 27, 1999
circumlocution \sir-kuhm-loh-KYOO-shuhn\ , noun:
The use of many words to express an idea that might be expressed by few; indirect or roundabout language.
Dickens gave us the classic picture of official heartlessness: the government Circumlocution Office, burial ground of hope in "Little Dorrit."
-- "Balance of Hardships", New York Times, September 28, 1999
In a delightful circumlocution, the Fed chairman said that "investors are probably revisiting expectations of domestic earnings growth".
-- "US exuberance is proven 'irrational'", Irish Times, October 31, 1997
Courtesies and circumlocutions are out of place, where the morals, health, lives of thousands are at stake.
-- Charles Kingsley, Letters
Prefer the single word to the circumlocution.
-- H.W. Fowler, The King's English
Circumlocution comes from Latin circumlocutio, circumlocution-, from circum, "around" + loquor, loqui, "to speak."