• (British) IPA: /ˌpɛ.ɹɪˈfɹæ.stik/
  • (Canada) IPA: /ˌpɛ.ɹəˈfɹæ.stɪk/
  • (America) IPA: /ˌpɛ.ɹəˈfɹæ.stɪk/


  1. Expressed in more words than are necessary.
    • 1916, Martin Brown Ruud, An Essay Toward a History of Shakespeare in Norway ↗
      As poetry it does not measure up to Aasen; as translation it is periphrastic, arbitrary, not at all faithful.
    • 1940, T. S. Eliot, East Coker:
      "That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory/ A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion/ Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle / With words and meanings."
  2. Indirect in naming an entity; circumlocutory.
    • 1870, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Vril: The Power of the Coming Race ↗
      In writing, they deem it irreverent to express the Supreme Being [and] in conversation they generally use a periphrastic epithet, such as the All-Good.
  3. (grammar) Characterized by periphrasis.
    “The daughter of the man” may be used as a periphrastic synonym for “the man’s daughter”.
Related terms Translations
  • French: périphrastique
  • Portuguese: perifrástico
  • Russian: многосло́вный
  • Spanish: perifrástico
  • Russian: иносказа́тельный

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