round·​about | \ ˈrau̇n-də-ˌbau̇t How to pronounce roundabout (audio) \

Definition of roundabout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: circuitous, indirect had to take a roundabout route



Definition of roundabout (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a circuitous route : detour
2 British : merry-go-round
3 : a short close-fitting jacket worn by men and boys especially in the 19th century

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from roundabout


roundaboutness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for roundabout

Synonyms: Adjective

circuitous, circular, indirect

Antonyms: Adjective

direct, straight, straightforward

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of roundabout in a Sentence


He took a roundabout route to town. In a roundabout way, he told me that my help was not wanted.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In a roundabout way, the street takes its name from Italy’s Alessandro Volta (1745-1827). John Kelly, Washington Post, "In Georgetown, some streets have been renamed again and again," 31 Aug. 2019 This is a roundabout way of saying that while many decent Los Angeles rock bands have come and gone, the brothers McDonald have not only endured, but prevailed. Randall Robertsstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "California Sounds: Redd Kross returns, Colleen Green covers Blink-182, S.I.R. teams with Kendrick Lamar," 25 Aug. 2019 China is now joining them, but in a roundabout way. Laura He, CNN, "China's central bank is cutting interest rates by stealth," 19 Aug. 2019 The South Coast rail line to New Bedford and Fall River is finally chugging along , albeit with a somewhat roundabout route that leaves downtown Taunton out of the mix. Jon Chesto,, "Lawmakers revive Blue Line extension idea," 22 July 2019 Toobin came to this conclusion in roundabout fashion. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, "Toobin retraces steps of Patty Hearst ordeal in Bay Area on CNN series," 8 Feb. 2018 Perhaps Goldberg was, in a roundabout way, trying to make that point too. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Bella Thorne and Whoopi Goldberg’s fight over nude photos is bigger than both of them," 21 June 2019 This is all a roundabout way of saying Bulls management’s decision of whether to draft the best player available or draft for need will be tested most at wing. K.c. Johnson,, "If the Bulls stay at No. 7, will they roll the dice on a wing like Sekou Doumbouya?," 19 June 2019 Unlike Google, which is at heart an advertising company, Apple can't puff up its profit in the roundabout ways that Google can. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "For Apple's Big Event on Monday, Hardware Is Just a Sideshow," 21 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Witnesses told troopers the teenager was in a crosswalk at a roundabout when the low-speed impact happened. Jeff Weiner,, "Timber Creek High student on skateboard hit by vehicle near school; injuries minor, FHP says," 11 Sep. 2019 Early Saturday evening, as a police spokesman gathered with officials at a busy roundabout in Kunduz, a suicide bomber detonated, killing the spokesman, Col. Washington Post, "Taliban attacks second Afghan city as U.S. negotiator says peace deal is near," 2 Sep. 2019 Illinois backs up at that roundabout that's right off 131st. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, "Chain that touts affordability wants to open a hotel in Carmel. Neighbors aren't happy.," 5 Aug. 2019 For $2,417,500, crews will replace the brick on Mull Avenue in West Akron, from the roundabout at South Hawkins to Schneider Park Drive. Robin Goist,, "Akron City Council approves $19 million in public works projects," 9 July 2019 The roundabout is near Terra State Community College west of Fremont. Jane Morice |,, "Berea man killed in motorcycle crash in Sandusky County," 14 July 2019 As hours passed, thousands more trickled into the plaza and a nearby roundabout. Washington Post, "Protesters say storming of legislature born of desperation," 6 July 2019 But Caltrans, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to add roundabouts for some reason at 25-156. Gary Richards, The Mercury News, "The safest lane for freeway driving at night: Roadshow," 25 June 2019 The 40-foot-tall concrete cross rises amid a busy roundabout in Bladensburg, Maryland. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Neil Gorsuch Scorns the “Offended” Atheists," 21 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'roundabout.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of roundabout


1608, in the meaning defined above


circa 1734, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about roundabout

Statistics for roundabout

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for roundabout

The first known use of roundabout was in 1608

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for roundabout



English Language Learners Definition of roundabout

: not direct
: not simple, clear, or plain : long and confusing


round·​about | \ ˈrau̇n-də-ˌbau̇t How to pronounce roundabout (audio) \

Kids Definition of roundabout

: not direct I took a roundabout route to get here.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on roundabout

What made you want to look up roundabout? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!