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periphrasis

When you choose a longer or less straightforward way of saying something, you use periphrasis. One example of periphrasis is describing someone as "more intelligent" instead of "smarter."

Choosing a two-word description instead of the one-word equivalent (like "more lengthy" rather than "longer") is one way to use periphrasis. This also happens when you use a longer phrase, like "give a presentation," instead of a single word that conveys the same meaning, "present." Using many words to describe something instead of a simple noun is also periphrasis: "the mother of my father," for example, instead of "grandmother." The Greek root, periphrazein, means "speak in a roundabout way."

Definitions of periphrasis
  1. noun
    a style that involves indirect ways of expressing things
    synonyms: ambage, circumlocution
    see moresee less
    type of:
    verboseness, verbosity
    an expressive style that uses excessive or empty words
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