/peuh rif"reuh sis/, n., pl. periphrases /-seez'/.
1. the use of an unnecessarily long or roundabout form of expression; circumlocution.
2. an expression phrased in such fashion.
Also, periphrase /per"euh frayz'/.
[1525-35; < L < Gk períphrasis. See PERI-, PHRASE, -SIS]

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also called  circumlocution 

      the use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter form of expression; a roundabout or indirect manner of writing or speaking. In literature periphrasis is sometimes used for comic effect, as illustrated by Charles Dickens in the speech of the character Wilkins Micawber, who appears in David Copperfield:

“Under the impression,” said Mr. Micawber, “that your peregrinations in this metropolis have not as yet been extensive, and that you might have some difficulty in penetrating the arcana of the Modern Babylon in the direction of the City Road—in short,” said Mr. Micawber, in another burst of confidence, “that you might lose yourself—I shall be happy to call this evening, and instal you in the knowledge of the nearest way.”

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • periphrasis — (n.) 1530s, from L. periphrasis circumlocution, from Gk. periphrasis, from periphrazein speak in a roundabout way, from peri round about (see PERI (Cf. peri )) + phrazein to express (see PHRASE (Cf. phrase) (n.)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Periphrasis — Pe*riph ra*sis, n.; pl. {Periphrases}. [L.] See {Periphrase}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Periphrasis — Periphrasis, griech., Periphrasie, Umschreibung; in der Rhetorik Figur, wobei man die Merkmale eines Gegenstandes anführt, ohne den Namen desselben zu nennen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • periphrasis — index digression, indirection (indirect action) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • periphrasis — *verbiage, redundancy, tautology, pleonasm, circumlocution …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • periphrasis — ► NOUN (pl. periphrases) ▪ the use of indirect and roundabout language; circumlocution. DERIVATIVES periphrastic adjective. ORIGIN from Greek peri around + phrazein declare …   English terms dictionary

  • periphrasis — [per′i frāz΄pə rif′rə sis] n. pl. periphrases [pə rif′rəsēz΄] [L < Gr < peri , around + phrazein, to speak] 1. the use of many words where one or a few would do; roundabout way of speaking or writing; circumlocution 2. an expression that is …   English World dictionary

  • Periphrasis — In linguistics, periphrasis is a device by which a grammatical category or relationship is expressed by a free morpheme (typically one or more function words modifying a content word), instead of being shown by inflection or derivation. For… …   Wikipedia

  • periphrasis — UK [pəˈrɪfrəsɪs] / US noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms periphrasis : singular periphrasis plural periphrases linguistics the practice of expressing something in a more complicated indirect way than is necessary, or something that is… …   English dictionary

  • periphrasis — noun (plural periphrases) Etymology: Latin, from Greek, from periphrazein to express periphrastically, from peri + phrazein to point out Date: 1533 1. use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter form of expression 2. an instance of… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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