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See more synonyms for periphrastic on Thesaurus.com
  1. circumlocutory; roundabout.
  2. Grammar. noting a construction of two or more words having the same syntactic function as an inflected word, as of Mr. Smith in the son of Mr. Smith, which is equivalent to Mr. Smith's in Mr. Smith's son.
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Origin of periphrastic

1795–1805; < Greek periphrastikós, derivative of periphrázein to use periphrasis. See peri-, phrase, -tic
Related formsper·i·phras·ti·cal·ly, adverbun·per·i·phras·tic, adjectiveun·per·i·phras·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for periphrastic

bombastic, chatty, diffuse, discursive, flatulent, gabby, garrulous, inflated, lengthy, long-winded, loquacious, pleonastic, prolix, rambling, redundant, rhetorical, tedious, turgid, verbose, voluble

Examples from the Web for periphrastic

Historical Examples of periphrastic

  • He might be described as the last of the periphrastic humorists.

    Old and New Masters

    Robert Lynd

  • The periphrastic tenses are formed on the same principles as in Mth.

  • Periphrastic epithets are part of the original and common stock of the Teutonic poetry.

  • Using these as auxiliaries the finite verb makes a whole series of periphrastic tenses.

  • In conversation they generally use a periphrastic epithet, such as the All-Good.

    The Coming Race

    Edward Bulwer Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for periphrastic


  1. employing or involving periphrasis
  2. expressed in two or more words rather than by an inflected form of one: used esp of a tense of a verb where the alternative element is an auxiliary verb. For example, He does go and He will go involve periphrastic tenses
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Derived Formsperiphrastically, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for periphrastic


1805, from French périphrastique and directly from Greek periphrastikos, from periphrazein (see periphrasis). Related: Periphrastical (1630s).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper