Circumlocution (also called circumduction, circumvolution, periphrasis, or ambage) is locution that circles around a specific idea with multiple words rather than directly evoking it with fewer and apter words. It is sometimes a necessary tool of communication (for example, in getting around lexical gaps to overcomeuntranslatability), but it is also often a flaw in communication (for example, when it is a figure of speech that is unnecessarily ambiguous and obscure). Ambiguity means that information can have multiple meanings.Roundabout speech refers to using many words (such as “a tool used for cutting things such as paper and hair“) to describe something for which a concise (and commonly known) expression exists (“scissors“). The vast majority of definitions found in dictionaries are circumlocutory. Circumlocution is often used by aphasics and people learning a new language, where in the absence of a word (such as “abuelo” [grandfather]) the subject can simply be described (“el padre de su padre” [the father of one’s father]). Euphemism, innuendo, and equivocationare different types of ambiguous and roundabout language (i.e. circumlocution
- Analytic language
- Auxiliary verb
- Compound (linguistics)
- “Speak of the devil, and he will appear” is the proverb.
- “periphrasis – definition and examples of periphrasis (rhetoric)”. Grammar.about.com. 1953-08-10. Retrieved2013-05-20.
- “Ambage” in American Heritage, and Dictionary.com
- Gail Ramshaw (1 January 1996). Liturgical Language: Keeping it Metaphoric, Making it Inclusive. Liturgical Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-8146-2408-1. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- “ambiguity – definition of ambiguity by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia”. Thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- Máire Byrne (8 September 2011). The Names of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Basis for Interfaith Dialogue. Continuum. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-4411-5356-2. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- “innuendo – definition of innuendo by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia”. Thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
- New Oxford American Dictionary 2nd edition © 2005 by Oxford University Press, Inc.
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