[adjective round-uh-bout, round-uh-bout; noun round-uh-bout]
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  1. circuitous or indirect, as a road, journey, method, statement or person.
  2. (of clothing) cut circularly at the bottom; having no tails, train, or the like.
  1. a short, close-fitting coat or jacket worn by men or boys, especially in the 19th century.
  2. British. a merry-go-round.
  3. a circuitous or indirect road, method, etc.
  4. Chiefly British. traffic circle.

Origin of roundabout

1525–35; round1 (adv.) + about

Synonyms for roundabout

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1. meandering, twisting, rambling, tortuous. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for roundabout

Contemporary Examples of roundabout

Historical Examples of roundabout

British Dictionary definitions for roundabout


  1. British a revolving circular platform provided with wooden animals, seats, etc, on which people ride for amusement; merry-go-round
  2. a road junction in which traffic streams circulate around a central islandUS and Canadian name: traffic circle
  3. an informal name for boring mill
  1. indirect or circuitous; devious
adverb, preposition round about
  1. on all sidesspectators standing round about
  2. approximatelyat round about 5 o'clock
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 roundabout

"by a circuitous route," mid-14c., from round (adv.) + about. As an adjective from c.1600. Noun sense of "traffic circle" is attested from 1927.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper