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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for euphuistic
Historical Examples
  • 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
  • Men of letters admired the euphuistic phrases and despised their author.

    Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar
  • These then are a few among the countless scribblers of those prolific times who fell under the spell of the euphuistic fashion.

    John Lyly John Dover Wilson
  • Find examples of euphuistic hyperbole in iv, of alliteration in xiv.

  • Everybody speaks Euphuism, though classical allusion alone is not essentially euphuistic.

    The Bibliotaph Leon H. Vincent
  • But his language has certainly the merit of doing more justice to his subject than that of his euphuistic predecessors.

    Thomas Otway Thomas Otway
  • It might just as well be said that Shakespeare's lords and ladies were not euphuistic enough.

    Suspended Judgments John Cowper Powys
  • 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
  • Perverted symmetry of style is found in euphuistic hacks like Pettie.

  • 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
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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