eu·​phu·​ism | \ ˈyü-fyə-ˌwi-zəm How to pronounce euphuism (audio) , -fyü-ˌi- \

Definition of euphuism

1 : an elegant Elizabethan literary style marked by excessive use of balance, antithesis, and alliteration and by frequent use of similes drawn from mythology and nature
2 : artificial elegance of language

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Other Words from euphuism

euphuist \ ˈyü-​fyə-​wist How to pronounce euphuist (audio) , -​fyü-​ist \ noun
euphuistic \ ˌyü-​fyə-​ˈwi-​stik How to pronounce euphuistic (audio) , -​fyü-​ˈi-​ \ adjective
euphuistically \ ˌyü-​fyə-​ˈwi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce euphuistically (audio) , -​fyü-​ˈi-​ \ adverb

Did You Know?

Nowadays, someone who uses euphuism might be accused of linguistic excess and affectation, but "euphuism" hasn't always had a negative connotation. When John Lyly employed this verbose form of rhetoric in his prose works Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578) and Euphues and His England (1580), it was a style that appealed to many of his contemporaries. "Euphuism" comes from the name of the character Euphues, whom Lyly described as a "young gallante, of more wit then wealth, and yet of more wealth then wisdome." The name was probably inspired by a Greek word meaning "witty." The term "euphuism" came into being to refer to Lyly's (and other writers') style a dozen or so years after his works appeared.

First Known Use of euphuism

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for euphuism

Euphues, character in prose romances by John Lyly

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The first known use of euphuism was in 1592

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Cite this Entry

“Euphuism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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