cir·​cu·​i·​tous | \ (ˌ)sər-ˈkyü-ə-təs How to pronounce circuitous (audio) \

Definition of circuitous

1 : having a circular or winding course a circuitous route a circuitous journey by snowmobile
2 : not being forthright or direct in language or action a circuitous explanation His circuitous form of logic was mind-boggling.

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Other Words from circuitous

circuitously adverb
circuitousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for circuitous



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Did You Know?

If you guessed that "circuitous" is related to "circuit," you're right - both words come from Latin circuitus, the past participle of the verb circumire, meaning "to go around." "Circumire" is derived in turn from Latin circum, meaning "around," plus "ire," which means "to go." Other "circum" descendants making the rounds in English include "circumference" ("the perimeter of a circle"), "circumvent" (one meaning of which is "to make a circuit around"), "circumlocution" (the act of "talking around" a subject), and "circumnavigate" ("to go around"). There's also the prefix circum-, which means "around" or "about," and the familiar word circumstance, which describes a condition or event that "stands around" another.

Examples of circuitous in a Sentence

Their logic seems a bit circuitous. we took a circuitous route to the airport so as to avoid the massive traffic jam on the highway
Recent Examples on the Web More than 33,000 North Koreans have relocated to South Korea, nearly all taking a circuitous route through a third country. Timothy W. Martin, WSJ, "North Korean Defector’s DMZ Crossing Raises Questions About Border Security," 24 Feb. 2021 Legalization of retail marijuana in Newton has taken a circuitous route in recent years. John Hilliard,, "Newton marijuana store seeks end to appointment-only rule, as nearby competition grows," 17 Feb. 2021 Mulder took a circuitous route to reach this point. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "How Mychal Mulder is making his case for a spot in Warriors' long-term plans," 15 Feb. 2021 The almost lifeless reptiles were rescued from the cold and then survived an unexpectedly long and circuitous plane and van trip to the Audubon Species Survival Center in Algiers. Tristan Baurick,, "After nearly freezing in New England, 30 endangered sea turtles get critical care in New Orleans," 3 Dec. 2020 LaMelo had a much more circuitous route to the NBA than his older brother, Lonzo, who spent a year at UCLA and then went second overall in 2017. Christian Clark,, "The first half of the Pelicans' schedule is here: 4 games to circle on your calendar," 4 Dec. 2020 What used to be a short walk across the street for groceries now requires a circuitous drive around a chain-link fence to reach the Giant. Washington Post, "Purple Line project uncertainty leaves Maryland residents, businesses in limbo," 24 Oct. 2020 Like its source material, the Russos' film adaptation is a wild, circuitous tale that can be grimly funny in one moment and devastating the next. Devan Coggan,, "Tom Holland unravels in first Cherry trailer," 14 Jan. 2021 That’s because his particular route was quite circuitous, going from playing collegiately at North Texas to being undrafted, to being cut by Dallas, to spending much of last season on the Chargers’ practice squad. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, "Chargers Justin Herbert continues to pass credit and complete records," 21 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circuitous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of circuitous

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for circuitous

perhaps from Medieval Latin circuitosus, from Latin circuitus — see circuit entry 1

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Time Traveler for circuitous

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The first known use of circuitous was in 1664

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Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Circuitous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of circuitous

: not straight, short, and direct
: not said or done simply or clearly

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