Simple Definition of circumlocution
: the use of many words to say something that could be said more clearly and directly by using fewer words
Full Definition of circumlocution
1 : the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea
2 : evasion in speech
Examples of circumlocution in a sentence
He was criticized for his use of circumlocution.
I'm trying to avoid circumlocutions in my writing.
Did You Know?
In The King's English, grammarian H.W. Fowler advised, "Prefer the single word to the circumlocution." Alas, that good advice was not followed by the framers of "circumlocution." They actually used two terms in forming that word for unnecessarily verbose prose or speech. But their choices were apt; circumlocution derives from the Latin circum-, meaning "around," and locutio, meaning "speech - so it literally means "roundabout speech." Since the 15th century, English writers have used "circumlocution" with disdain, naming a thing to stop, or better yet, to avoid altogether. Charles Dickens even used it to satirize political runarounds when he created the fictional Circumlocution Office, a government department that delayed the dissemination of information and just about everything else.
Origin of circumlocution
Middle English circumlocucyon, from Latin circumlocution-, circumlocutio, from circum- + locutio speech, from loqui to speak
First Known Use: 15th century
Learn More about circumlocution
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for "circumlocution" Spanish Central: Translation of "circumlocution" Nglish: Translation of "circumlocution" for Spanish speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about "circumlocution"
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