circuitous

adjective

cir·​cu·​i·​tous (ˌ)sər-ˈkyü-ə-təs How to pronounce circuitous (audio)
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.
circuitously adverb
circuitousness noun

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 But her career choices reveal a circuitous route toward stardom, a push and pull between projects with famous directors and actors and those on a much smaller scale, including independent films and stage productions. Thessaly La Force, New York Times, 28 Mar. 2024 Weiman says Palestinians are now forced to take long, circuitous routes just to go between home and work. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR, 23 Mar. 2024 After the long, circuitous journey to gain admittance to the University of Kentucky, then having to sit out while the NCAA determined his eligibility, what difference would a few more seconds make? Ryan Black, The Courier-Journal, 20 Jan. 2024 Biden’s motorcade took a circuitous route to the Capitol, as hundreds of pro-cease-fire demonstrators tried to disrupt its path from the White House. Zeke Miller, Fortune, 8 Mar. 2024 Few athletes will be more deserving of their place at this year’s Games, which get underway in July, than May, and few will have had such an onerous, circuitous path to get there. Amanda Davies, CNN, 27 Feb. 2024 Slate took a circuitous path to both love and comedic stardom. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 18 Feb. 2024 The remaining equipment, worth $17.8 million, traveled a circuitous route. Pei-Lin Wu, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2024 Wright, meanwhile, has had a circuitous high school career thus far. Gregg Voss, Chicago Tribune, 8 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'circuitous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of circuitous was in 1664

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Dictionary Entries Near circuitous

Cite this Entry

“Circuitous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/circuitous. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

circuitous

adjective
cir·​cu·​itous
(ˌ)sər-ˈkyü-ət-əs
1
: not saying what one means in simple and sincere language
2
: having a circular or winding course
a circuitous route
circuitously adverb
circuitousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on circuitous

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