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Periphrasis is unnecessarily roundabout speech, or speech that uses more words than necessary. For example, someone saying "It is evident that your statements are deceptive and untrue" rather than "You're lying" would be engaging in periphrasis. Colloquially, periphrasis is sometimes known as "beating around the bush."

In linguistics, periphrasis is the use of multiple words to express a grammatical relationship that would otherwise be expressed by inflection. An example is the use of the auxiliary verb "have" in the English "I have come," which in Latin would be the single word veni.