All Words > Circumlocution

illustration Circumlocution



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, 16th century


The use of many words where fewer would do, especially in a deliberate attempt to be vague or evasive.

Examples of Circumlocution in a sentence

"The drawn-out speech was not only boring, but also pure circumlocution."

"His attempt at circumlocution didn’t fool his mother when she asked where he was last night."

About Circumlocution

"Circumlocution" is a fairly direct translation from Latin: "circum" = around, and "locution" = talk. When a speaker is in the midst of circumlocution they’re circling around their point and using too many words. This could be a sign of deception or just a symptom of not knowing when to be quiet.

Did you Know?

Maybe you’re nervous, or maybe you’re trying to avoid giving a direct answer. Whatever the reason, if you’re “beating around the bush,” you’re practicing circumlocution. Using that phrase would also be circumlocution, which refers to the use of many words where fewer would do, especially in an attempt to be evasive. Why use an idiom when there’s a perfectly good word?

illustration Circumlocution

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