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 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 His path to the top of a ladder on Camp Randall's sidelines was circuitous and involved many instruments. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Corey Pompey, the new University of Wisconsin-Madison marching band director, takes the baton and replaces a legend," 18 Oct. 2019 Scared to lead them to the shelter, Waulter took a circuitous route. Silvia Foster-frau,, "Gangs profit from Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy," 29 Sep. 2019 Which brings us, by a circuitous and not particularly well-paved route, to Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana. New York Times, "A Stand-Up Example of Sit-Down Pizza," 4 June 2019 The greenback is usually involved, and a basis swap spread is a measure of how much more a bank has to pay to borrow dollars by this circuitous route rather than taking an outright Libor loan. Washington Post, "Danger Signs From an Esoteric Corner of Finance," 18 Sep. 2019 After committing to Ohio State and not qualifying academically, Johnson had a circuitous route to the NFL. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans' Lonnie Johnson: 'They didn't bring me here to sit on the bench'," 12 Sep. 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

11 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Circuitous.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for circuitous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with circuitous

Spanish Central: Translation of circuitous

Nglish: Translation of circuitous for Spanish Speakers

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