Periphrase

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Periphrase (Rhet) The use of more words than are necessary to express the idea; a roundabout, or indirect, way of speaking; circumlocution. "To describe by enigmatic periphrases ."
    • v. t Periphrase To express by periphrase or circumlocution.
    • v. i Periphrase To use circumlocution.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n periphrase Same as periphrasis.
    • periphrase To express by periphrasis or circumlocution.
    • periphrase To use circumlocution.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Periphrase per′i-frāz a round-about way of speaking: the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea:
    • v.t., v.i Periphrase to use circumlocution
    • n Periphrase per′i-frāz (rhet.) a figure employed to avoid a trite expression—also Periph′rasis
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. periphrasis, Gr. , fr. to think about, to be expressed periphrastically; + to speak: cf. F. périphrase,. See Phrase
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L.,—Gr. periphrasisperi, about, phrasis, a speaking.

Usage

In literature:

It is to be noted that the age of periphrase in verse was the age of crudities in prose.
"Les Misérables Complete in Five Volumes" by Victor Hugo
But her further questioning was met with a frank, amiable, and simple brevity that was as puzzling as the most artful periphrase of tact.
"By Shore and Sedge" by Bret Harte
The latter phrase was her picture-periphrase for praying.
"Sir Gibbie" by George MacDonald
This young man had a scorn of periphrases.
"Demos" by George Gissing
It seems impossible for him to put pen to paper without inventing monstrous and ridiculous periphrases.
"Renaissance in Italy: Italian Literature" by John Addington Symonds
In literature such "barbarisms" were avoided as far as possible, and were replaced by Greek periphrases.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 12, Slice 5" by Various
Put it in a sequestered corner and periphrase it, will you?
"Mammon and Co." by E. F. Benson
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