periphrasis periphrasis
 per-if'-ra-sis from Gk. peri, "around" and phrasein "to declare"
Also sp. perifrasis
antonomasia, circumlocutio, circumitio
the figure of ambage

The substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name (a species of circumlocution); or, conversely, the use of a proper name as a shorthand to stand for qualities associated with it.
In the TV show "Dinosaurs" the infant dino called his father, "Not-the-Mama."

He's no Fabio to look at; but then, he's no Woody Allen, either.

Said of Aristotle: "The prince of Peripatetics" —Angel Day

Related Figures
Related Topics of Invention
  • Subject and Adjuncts
See Also
  Sources: Ad Herennium 4.32.43 ("circumitio"); Quintilian 8.6.29-30 ("antonomasia"); Bede 614; Sherry (1550) 44 ("periphrasis," "circuitio"); Peacham (1577) H1v, K3r; Putt. (1589) 203 ("periphrasis," "the figure of ambage"); Day 1599 84

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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