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[yoo-fyoo-iz-uh m] /ˈyu fyuˌɪz əm/
an affected style in imitation of that of Lyly, fashionable in England about the end of the 16th century, characterized chiefly by long series of antitheses and frequent similes relating to mythological natural history, and alliteration.
Compare Euphues.
any similar ornate style of writing or speaking; high-flown, periphrastic language.
Origin of euphuism
First recorded in 1590-1600; Euphu(es) + -ism
Related forms
euphuist, noun
euphuistic, euphuistical, adjective
euphuistically, adverb
Can be confused
euphemism, euphuism. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for euphuistic
Historical Examples
  • It might just as well be said that Shakespeare's lords and ladies were not euphuistic enough.

    Suspended Judgments John Cowper Powys
  • Men of letters admired the euphuistic phrases and despised their author.

    Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar
  • Find examples of euphuistic hyperbole in iv, of alliteration in xiv.

  • But his language has certainly the merit of doing more justice to his subject than that of his euphuistic predecessors.

    Thomas Otway Thomas Otway
  • She was the social leader of Morningside Park, and in her superficial and euphuistic way an extremely kind and pleasant woman.

    Ann Veronica H. G. Wells
  • They are known at a later period to have acted some of Lily's euphuistic plays, and one of Middleton's.

    Old and New London Walter Thornbury
  • The book has given a word to the language; that affected word-placing style is known as euphuistic.

    The World's Best Books Frank Parsons
  • Here the pompous antithesis is evidently meant to caricature the peculiar euphuistic sentence of court parlance.

  • They were careful by choosing appropriate titles for their novels to publicly connect themselves with the euphuistic cycle.

  • He is euphuistic in his style, wise in his advice to his readers, and a great admirer of his own country.

British Dictionary definitions for euphuistic


an artificial prose style of the Elizabethan period, marked by extreme use of antithesis, alliteration, and extended similes and allusions
any stylish affectation in speech or writing, esp a rhetorical device or expression
Derived Forms
euphuist, noun
euphuistic, euphuistical, adjective
euphuistically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: after Euphues, prose romance by John Lyly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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