Word of the Week: Circumlocution

Circumlocution is a noun, but can also be used as an adjective (circumlocutory). Defined as to an indirect way of expressing something, circumlocution has been used since the 15th century. Derived from Latin words, circum- (around) and locutio (speech), the original word is defined as roundabout speech

Euphemisms are a common example of circumlocution, in which an innocuous word replaces something unpleasant. For example, it’s common to hear that someone has “passed away” rather than hearing that someone has “died”.

Since the 15th century, many writers refrain from using circumlocution because they believe it is better to be direct and concise when writing for an audience. However, circumlocution is common among politicians because it is an effective way to obscure meaning. For example, a politician might say “permissible tax minimisation” when they really mean “tax mitigation or evasion”.

When selling the company’s products, the salesperson used circumlocution to directly avoid answering the question.

shuffle, tergiversation

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