Word of the Day : March 15, 2021
circumlocution \ser-kum-loh-KYOO-shun\ noun
1 : the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea
2 : evasion in speech
Did You Know?
In The King's English, grammarian H. W. Fowler advised, "Prefer the single word to the circumlocution." Alas, that good advice was not followed by the framers of circumlocution. They actually used two terms in forming that word for unnecessarily verbose prose or speech. But their choices were apt; circumlocution derives from the Latin circum-, meaning "around," and locutio, meaning "speech"—so it literally means "roundabout speech." Since at least the early 16th century, English writers have used circumlocution with disdain, naming a thing to stop, or better yet, to avoid altogether. Charles Dickens even used it to satirize political runarounds in the 1857 novel Little Dorrit with the creation of the fictional Circumlocution Office, a government department that delayed the dissemination of information and just about everything else.
Aired March 15, 2021
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