periphrasis

EnglishEdit

 
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EtymologyEdit

From Ancient Greek περίφρασις (períphrasis).

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

periphrasis (countable and uncountable, plural periphrases)

  1. The use of a longer expression instead of a shorter one with a similar meaning, for example "I am going to" instead of "I will".
  2. (linguistics) Expressing a grammatical meaning (such as a tense) using a syntactic construction rather than morphological marking.
    Language learners sometimes use periphrases like "did go" where a native speaker would use "went".
    Native speakers use periphrases like "did not go" where a language learner might use "went not".
  3. (rhetoric) The substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name (a type of circumlocution).
    • [1835, L[arret] Langley, A Manual of the Figures of Rhetoric, [], Doncaster: Printed by C. White, Baxter-Gate, OCLC 1062248511, page 37:
      Periphrasis a single thought expands,
      And uses many words for what but few demands.
      ]
  4. (rhetoric) The use of a proper name as a shorthand to stand for qualities associated with it.

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