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 Our Stages Act followed a circuitous path before ending up with a different name in the nearly 5,600-page omnibus bill that cleared both of houses of Congress and awaited the signature of President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "Dallas arts leaders applaud $15 billion boost included in stimulus deal," 22 Dec. 2020 To get to this point, Toscano-Anderson took a circuitous route. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors bring back Oakland native Juan Toscano-Anderson on two-way deal," 22 Dec. 2020 Williams’ circuitous journey to the Rams started nine years ago. Gary Klein Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Darious Williams turns corner in long trip to become Rams standout," 20 Nov. 2020 The treatment, called aducanumab, has had a circuitous journey toward its possible clearance. Anna Edney,, "Biogen Surges After FDA Reviewers Support Alzheimer’s Drug," 4 Nov. 2020 Advocacy groups also reached out to postal workers, who agreed to drive mail-in ballots straight to their destination to avoid the circuitous route that mail from the Navajo Nation often takes. New York Times, "Native Americans Helped Flip Arizona. Can They Mobilize in Georgia?," 4 Dec. 2020 Eisenberg’s own driving, meanwhile, touring around the Northeast, has been more circuitous. Washington Post, "Wendy Eisenberg finds meaning in complexity," 13 Nov. 2020 After a circuitous legal battle lasting five years, Bloomington residents will get to vote Nov. 3 on two ballot questions to determine how their garbage will be handled. Erin Adler, Star Tribune, "After five years in court, trash collection issue will finally go to Bloomington voters," 23 Oct. 2020 Dozens more appeared suggesting Menna had followed a circuitous path from Georgia to Canada and on to Oklahoma, leaving suspicion in his wake. Cara Kelly, USA Today, "He posed as a doctor and a wilderness expert. Behind the facade was an accused child molester.," 22 Oct. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of circuitous was in 1664

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Circuitous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for circuitous


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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Nglish: Translation of circuitous for Spanish Speakers

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