[ per-uh-fras-tik ]
/ ˌpɛr əˈfræs tɪk /


circumlocutory; roundabout.
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.

Nearby words

  1. peripheric,
  2. periphery,
  3. periphlebitis,
  4. periphrase,
  5. periphrasis,
  6. periphyton,
  7. periplasm,
  8. periporitis,
  9. periproct,
  10. periproctitis

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for periphrastic

British Dictionary definitions for periphrastic


/ (ˌpɛrɪˈfræstɪk) /


employing or involving periphrasis
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
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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper