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
euphuistplay \ˈyü-fyə-wist, -fyü-ist\ noun
euphuisticplay \ˌyü-fyə-ˈwi-stik, -fyü-ˈi-\ adjective
euphuisticallyplay \ˌyü-fyə-ˈwi-sti-k(ə-)lē, -fyü-ˈi-\ adverb
euphuism was our Word of the Day on 06/27/2008. Hear the podcast!
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.
Origin and Etymology of euphuism
Euphues, character in prose romances by John Lyly
First Known Use: 1592
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