pandemo (pandemo) wrote,

On Circumlocution

circumlocution \sir-kuhm-loh-KYOO-shuhn\, noun:
The use of many words to express an idea that might be expressed by few; indirect or roundabout language.

Dickens gave us the classic picture of official heartlessness: the government Circumlocution Office, burial ground of hope in "Little Dorrit."
--"'Balance of Hardships,'" [1]New York Times, September 28, 1999

In a delightful circumlocution, the Fed chairman said that "investors are probably revisiting expectations of domestic earnings growth".
--"US exuberance is proven 'irrational,'" Irish Times, October 31, 1997

Courtesies and circumlocutions are out of place, where the morals, health, lives of thousands are at stake.
--Charles Kingsley, Letters

Prefer the single word to the circumlocution.
--H.W. Fowler, [3]The King's English

Circumlocution comes from Latin circumlocutio,
circumlocution-, from circum, "around" + loquor, loqui, "to

Circumlocution office is a term of ridicule for a governmental office where business is delayed by passing through the hands of different officials. It comes from Dickens' Little Dorrit:

Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving--How not to do it.
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