Definition of periphrastic in English:


Line breaks: peri|phras¦tic
Pronunciation: /ˌpɛrɪˈfrastɪk


  • 1(Of speech or writing) indirect and circumlocutory: the periphrastic nature of legal syntax
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    • Labor is simply the complementary of leisure, and the two together are the periphrastic equivalent of life.
    • In journalism, short and clear is better than long and wordy; reporters generally don't have the space or time to reach for periphrastic phrasings when something more direct is available.
    • I spoke a little while ago about ‘dialogue across societies’ and, perhaps, you thought this was just a periphrastic way of invoking cross-cultural dialogue.
    circumlocutory, circuitous, roundabout, indirect, tautological, prolix, verbose, wordy, long-winded, rambling, wandering, tortuous, diffuse, discursive
    rare pleonastic, circumlocutionary, ambagious
  • 1.1 Grammar (Of a case or tense) formed by a combination of words rather than by inflection (such as did go and of the people rather than went and the people’s).
    More example sentences
    • No one would claim that modern Japanese culture is one in which it is unnecessary to talk about the future, but Japanese has no future tense, not even a periphrastic one like English.
    • As the lexicon expands, the clumsy but motivated compounds and periphrastic expressions disappear.
    • Now, come back to the non-complementarity between the logophoric pronoun and the regular pronoun in, which is usually found in periphrastic logophoric constructions in African languages.





early 19th century: from Greek periphrastikos, from periphrazein 'declare in a roundabout way'.

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