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 The truck and the trailer with the people inside apparently took separate circuitous journeys before ending up on the grounds of the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, 25 miles east of London on the River Thames. Author: Gregory Katz, Danica Kirka, Anchorage Daily News, "UK truck driver subject of murder investigation after 39 people found dead in container," 23 Oct. 2019 However, the indictment said financial records showed the money came via a circuitous route through a loan linked to Fruman. Kevin Mccoy, USA TODAY, "Prosecutors could file more charges in campaign finance case against Rudy Giuliani associates," 2 Dec. 2019 An investigation has found full names, dates of birth and social security numbers were among the data that followed a circuitous route to end up in the email inbox of a police chief in a neighboring jurisdiction, officials said. Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post, "Fairfax County police trace data breach affecting more than 1,700 employees," 22 Nov. 2019 One possible explanation is that shaking waves didn’t come in the same direction as a crow flies; as the shaking hit mountain ranges, the energy waves may have taken a circuitous path around them. Los Angeles Times, "Earthquake shook L.A. skyscrapers so hard some got vertigo," 15 Aug. 2019 Grimm’s suit has followed a circuitous path that almost included a stop at the U.S. Supreme Court. Ben Finley, The Seattle Times, "Virginia district split over ending transgender bathroom ban," 19 Feb. 2019 Disappointed that a foul wasn’t called, Porter dropped the ball and jogged toward the team’s bench on the opposite end of the court, taking a circuitous route and bumping into Spooner on his way by. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Porter Jr. ‘contrite, very disappointed in himself’ following suspension," 6 Nov. 2019 Patrons who want to travel between the children’s levels must now either use the elevator, or take a circuitous route around the library, up and down flights of stairs. Sharon Otterman, New York Times, "New Library Is a $41.5 Million Masterpiece. But About Those Stairs.," 5 Nov. 2019 Berenson, a historian whose great-grandparents were among the first Jews to live in Massena, explores the origins of the blood libel and traces its circuitous route to upstate New York. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 29 Oct. 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of circuitous was in 1664

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Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Circuitous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce circuitous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of circuitous

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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with circuitous

Spanish Central: Translation of circuitous

Nglish: Translation of circuitous for Spanish Speakers

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