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Home » Shakespeare's Works » Elements » Figures of Speech » Figures of Speech by Name » Circumlocution


Circumlocution is the use of more words than necessary, or of evasive words, in order to circle around a meaning and to avoid being direct. “Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain / If with too credent ear you list his songs / Or lose your heart or your chaste treasure open / To his unmastered importunity. / Fear it, Ophelia; fear it, my dear sister.” Hamlet. 1.3.33. See also ambage, amplification, euphemism, and periphrasis.

Circumlocution is an example of:

For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,

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For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,Hendiadys & Synecdoche
A violet in the youth of primy nature,Metaphor
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
Hendiadys & MetaphorThe perfume and suppliance of a minute,

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