cir-cum-lo-cu'-tion L. “talking around”
circumlocutio, circumitio
periphrasis (perifrasis)
the figure of ambage

As the name implies, "talking around" something, usually by supplying a descriptive phrase in place of a name (=periphrasis).
Circumlocutions are rhetorically useful as euphemisms, as a method of amplification, or to hint at something without stating it.
Laertes, urging Ophelia to keep clear of Hamlet, refers to her virginity metaphorically through a circumlocation:
...Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
To his unmast'red importunity. —Shakespeare, Hamlet 1.3.31-32
Related Figures

Related Topics of Invention

See Also

  Sources: Ad Herennium 4.32.43 ("circumitio"); Bede 614 ("perifrasis"); Putt. (1589) 203 ("periphrasis," "the figure of ambage")

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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