1. The use of unnecessarily wordy language, especially in being vague or evasive.
2. A roundabout or evasive expression: Circumlocutions like "go to the bathroom" are often used in place of words that are considered vulgar or indelicate.
[Middle English circumlocucioun, from Latin circumlocūtiō, circumlocūtiōn-, from circumlocūtus, past participle of circumloquī : circum-, circum- + loquī, to speak; see tolkw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
cir′cum·loc′u·tori·ly (-lŏk′yə-tôrə-lē) adv.
cir′cum·locu·to′ry (-tôr′ē) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.