Tag Archives: Circumlocution


Circumlocution: an indirect way of speaking when you would rather avoid speaking clearly, speaking directly, or getting to the point. An evasive way of speaking.
Try to get a straight answer out of a politician. Good luck. Politicians are known for their circumlocution. Which reminds me of my favorite quote on politicians:
“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress, but I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain 
Circumlocution comes from two Latin words. Circum means around. Loquor, which means “I speak” also gives us the English words eloquence, allocution, and obloquy.


Circumlocution: indirect speaking; a roundabout or indirect expression; use of superfluous words to express an idea.

If you are not willing to get right to the point, or if, for some reason, you need to soften the force of direct speech, you might use circumlocution.

Circumlocution comes from the two Latin words, circum (ring, circle, around, about) and loquor (I talk). If you are talking in circles, you are circumlocuting. (I just made that verb up.)