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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Periphrastic \Per`i*phras"tic\, Periphrastical \Per`i*phras"tic*al\, a. [Gr. ?: cf. F. p['e]riphrastique.] Expressing, or expressed, in more words than are necessary; characterized by periphrase; circumlocutory.

Periphrastic conjugation (Gram.), a conjugation formed by the use of the simple verb with one or more auxiliaries.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1805, from French périphrastique and directly from Greek periphrastikos, from periphrazein (see periphrasis). Related: Periphrastical (1630s).


a. 1 Expressed in more words than are necessary. 2 Indirect in naming an entity; circumlocutory. 3 (context grammar English) Characterized by periphrasis.


adj. roundabout and unnecessarily wordy; "had a preference for circumlocutious (or circumlocutory) rather than forthright expression"; "A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,/ Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle/ With words and meanings."-T.S.Eliot; (`ambagious' is archaic) [syn: circumlocutious, circumlocutory, ambagious]

Usage examples of "periphrastic".

Blackburied: The meaning of this is not very clear, but it is probably a periphrastic and picturesque way of indicating damnation.

A tall, lank-haired man, looking more like an undertaker than a divine of any denomination, read straight through, without a syllable of preface, the fifteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, and then, kneeling down, began a rambling, extemporaneous prayer, the main object of which seemed to be, to address the Deity by as many periphrastic adjurations as possible.

The ensuing silence, in a roomful of drunks in an advanced stage of wreckage, was a tribute to the periphrastic performance he was putting on.

In conversation they generally use a periphrastic epithet, such as the All-Good.

Future Periphrastic Conjugation and that ticklish difference between the Gerund and the Gerundive, which is vital.

However, has it occurred to you that under present conditions, the most feasible route may unavoidably be circuitousnot to say ambagious, periphrastic and anfractuous?

Anyway, when speaking of the cognitive value of literature, we must acknowledge the presence of a periphrastic, or allegoric-periphrastic approach often taken by writers of fiction.

The language is subtle and loosely regulated, with its circumlocutory word orders, its vague declensions, its doubled conjugations, both synthetic and periphrastic, with its old "story" forms mixed with formal verb patterns.

They built up their multivocal counterpoint, their massive orchestras, their fugal and sonata forms, seeking a perfection that, if they could have cleansed the rheum from their old-man's eyes, they would have known had to lie in the simple and direct rather than the periphrastic and complicated.