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.

Other Words from circuitous

circuitously adverb
circuitousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for circuitous



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Don’t force data packets to take a circuitous, value-sucking route around the network. David Flower, Forbes, 20 May 2022 Took a circuitous route into coaching, guided along the way by one of the game’s legendary sideline bosses. oregonlive, 16 May 2022 Took a circuitous route into coaching, guided along the way by one of the game’s legendary sideline bosses. Tim Reynolds, Hartford Courant, 16 May 2022 Took a circuitous route into coaching, guided along the way by one of the game’s renowned sideline bosses. Tim Reynolds, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 May 2022 Finding a way to good health has been an even more circuitous route. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Oct. 2021 About the only way to go after that mountain lion will involve a likely circuitous route. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 3 June 2021 Casto took a circuitous route from Unalaska to the Bering Sea winter snow crab harvest. Anchorage Daily News, 4 Apr. 2022 Both vessels appeared to skirt EU waters on their way to Turkey, taking a circuitous route that went around several Greek islands. Bob Ortega, CNN, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About circuitous

Time Traveler for circuitous

Time Traveler

The first known use of circuitous was in 1664

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About circuitous

Dictionary Entries Near circuitous



circuit rider

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for circuitous

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Circuitous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on circuitous

Nglish: Translation of circuitous for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!