Word: circuitous

Pronunciation: sər-KYOO-ə-təs

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: longer than the most direct way

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Today’s Word of the Week was suggested by the mother-daughter writing team Inion N. Mathair, who discovered it while writing their novel Nightwalkers: The Secret of Jessup. Although the word did sound vaguely familiar when Inion requested I feature it here, I confess I had to look it up to remember what it meant. I have to say, these lovely ladies have good taste in vocabulary, because as soon as I read the definition, I realized I could have used this word in some of my own stories already! I have written a few characters who like to take the long way around. Thanks for the suggestion, ladies!

A “circuitous” route or journey is one that’s longer than the most direct possible path. The word comes from the Latin adjective circuitosus, which in turn stems from the noun circuitus, meaning “a way around”. This noun is derived from the verb circumire “to go around”, which is comprised of the adverb circum “around” and the verb ire “to go”.

When I think of the word “circuitous”, the first image to come to mind is a literal road that goes around the straightest way, but I assume it works equally well in the metaphorical sense of a journey that takes longer than the most direct route to a goal. If your characters often tend to avoid the short way to a destination, you can no doubt work a few “circuitous” paths into your stories! Good luck!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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