‘Talking in circles’ is when a person refuses to go straight to the point but uses several unnecessary words. There are several adjectives and nouns for a person who talks in circles.
You can use words that generally address people who do this. You may also use words that give the reason for talking in circles. There are also words that point out a trait that may make a person talk in circles.
A person who talks in circles can be called a Circumlocutory. This is a general word for people who refuse to hit the nail on the head in time. It is also positive so you don’t offend the person you are giving the name to.
15 Words for Someone Who Talks In Circles
‘Talking in circles’ has several terms in the English Dictionary. A person can talk in circles for many reasons. With some of these nouns and adjectives, the reasons don’t matter.
However, some of them directly refer to the speaker’s reasons for talking in circles. Here are some of the abundant words for someone who talks in circles.
Circumlocutory is ‘an indirect way of speaking or the use of more words to express an idea’. A Circumlocutory speech is one whose message isn’t directly or bluntly stated.
Talking in circles can include choosing words carefully or avoiding certain words that have other meanings attached to them. Whatever reason may be behind your circumlocution, it doesn’t matter to be called Circumlocutory.
This makes it easy to use this word for other people when you can’t tell why they are refusing to go straight to the point.
- He has always been Circumlocutory when referring to his wayward friend.
Indirect refers to something that is roundabout or not straight to the point. An indirect speech or writing passes a message implicitly.
Somehow, being Circumlocutory can help you prevent someone from understanding you as much as the person wants to.
In some cases, however, the other person can clearly understand what you mean but it is not said directly so they can’t crucify you for it.
Talking in circles has several methods which include choosing positive words to express negative meanings and giving certain gestures that demean a certain person.
Both are Circumlocutory ways of insulting a person. However, because it’s indirect, the other person will be careful to make sure he/she hasn’t misunderstood what you did.
- His statement was indirect but I understood the insult.
Euphemistic is a creative way to refer to someone who talks in circles.
It refers to the replacement of vulgar, offensive, or shocking words with other expressions. Euphemistic statements are made longer with metaphors that are often widely understood.
Being Indirect is simply passing a message with implicit words or gestures and this could be positive or negative. Being Euphemistic, however, is more focused on the negative and strictly has to do with words rather than gestures.
- The deed was done. There was no need to be euphemistic.
Pleonasmic is ‘the use of redundant words in passing a message’. A pleonasmic speech or writing is one that could have been shorter.
You can use Pleonasmic for both speech and writing. This is similar to saying a person or something is Circumlocutory, in the sense that both only refer to the state or act of not being straightforward in passing a message.
It is mostly used for people who use excessive words while there are simpler words that pass the same message. This is not often about big words or jargon.
It mostly has to do with excessive redundancy. He/she may be used to that way of speaking. It may also be an intentional waste of time.
- Your detailed report is good but, nonetheless, pleonasmic.
Verbose can be used to refer to when more than enough information is given. It refers to the use of more words or information than necessary. A verbose speech or writing may provide useful but unrequired information before the required ones.
One may wonder when information can be too much. This is very possible if the information being passed is meant to be concise and, while too many words are said or written, unnecessary or protected information is passed alongside.
This can be used if a person seems to be saying more than required or he/she is using too many words to pass a message that is rather straightforward.
- The Principal’s speech is always verbose and tiring.
Diffusive is another word that refers to the act of talking too much. It refers to ‘using an excessive number of words or digressing’. A diffusive speech may include too many words just to reduce the effect of shocking information.
A person can delay giving information due to his/her tendency to be distracted or digress from the point of a conversation or speech.
When a person delays giving a major information by rambling about something else or giving a needless piece of information, you can call him/her diffusive. This can also be done intentionally.
- He tried to be diffusive but everyone already knew what he had to say.
Chatty is when you are ‘fond of chatting or giving more information than necessary’. A chatty person talks too much and may give a lot of unnecessary information before reaching the point of a conversation.
If you want to refer to a person who seems to be talking in circles, he/she may simply be chatty if he/she happens to be giving more unnecessary information than the necessary information.
While a chatty person is telling you a story, he/she can digress to explain a few points within the story and delaying the major points in which you are interested.
- She is quite chatty so remember to ask straightforward questions or you’ll spend the night listening to her.
Metaphorist refers to a person who uses metaphors. A metaphorist may use fewer words but his/her indirect speech can be difficult to understand or be sure of. This makes it Circumlocutory.
One of the ways a person can talk in circles can be to give half information or replace some words with others (.e.g. being Euphemistic). While euphemism often requires using many words to diffuse a negative message, being metaphoric doesn’t require many words and can be positive or negative.
Note: Being euphemistic is being metaphoric but being metaphoric isn’t necessarily being Euphemistic.
- I’ve known him as a metaphorist so I don’t expect to understand everything he says.
This is similar to being pleonasmic i.e. using more words than necessary to pass a message. You can use this word to refer to a person if he/she employs redundant words in speech or writing.
Just as one can be intentionally diffusive to make a listener lose interest or lose focus on the main point of one’s speech, a person can also be intentionally periphrastic.
- He was periphrastic but I knew whom he was throwing shades at.
Dilatory is used to refer to something that is slow or late. It also refers to being indirect. This is not just talking in circles but also not being straightforward with actions or procedures.
Unlike most of the words mentioned earlier, this gives the reason a person may be talking in circles. If you want to refer to a person who is intentionally talking in circles to delay decisions, you can use the word, ‘Dilatory’.
- The meeting was dilatory. We needed everyone in the hall.
Prolixious refers to something that is boring, excessive, and causing delay; mostly speech, writing, or actions. A Prolixious speech is one that’s clearly being indirect and delaying.
Prolixious is one of the best words that sum up everything about talking in circles. This adjective is meant to qualify a person’s speech or writing, rather than the person.
When a person is passing a message without being straightforward, you can find his/her words delaying, boring, and excessive. These are major characteristics of circumlocution and being Prolixious.
This, however, is an obsolete word but may still be used in informal speech.
- He got so Prolixious on screen that I slept off watching.
Circuitous refers to something that is not direct or to the point. A speech or writing is circuitous if the revelation of its main points or purpose is delayed.
Here is another word that simply refers to the act of talking in circles without giving a reason for it. It is also one of the best to refer to a person who is being indirect if you can’t tell why he/she is not being straightforward in his/her speech.
You can use this to refer to both speech and writing. Also, this may refer to actions that don’t pass a direct message too.
- When he started talking, he was so circuitous. I couldn’t put everything together.
Superfluous refers to something that is in excess of what is sufficient or required. This can refer to the number of words in a message. It can also be used when the needed information is accompanied by unnecessary or useless ones.
Superfluous is a simple word for a speech or writing that is more than enough to pass the intended message. This may not be found circumlocutory if you can get the desired information earlier than the unnecessary ones.
A superfluous speech isn’t necessarily Circumlocutory but a superfluous message is most likely Circumlocutory just as a Circumlocutory message tends to be filled with excess words.
- Your submission is superfluous but thanks anyway.
Wordy is a synonym for Superfluous. It refers to a speech or writing that may be circumlocutory with its use of excessive words.
This is not about digressing or including unnecessary information but about using too many words to explain something that can still be very clear with fewer words.
This is considered Circumlocutory too and it may be done intentionally when hesitating to pass a message.
Wordy is ‘the use of an excessive number of words in expressing a message’. This is the opposite of conciseness and can be considered circumlocutory since the points from a message are expected to vary according to its length.
- His speech is always wordy and boring. He doesn’t understand what brevity means.
“Roundabout” is another good word that can be used for a speech or writing that is not direct. It can also refer to something that has a lot of information that may or may not be useful to you.
Use this in referring to a person who is being indirect if you think his/her response should be shorter or he/she is starting with information that is not important to you.
Roundabout refers to something encircling. It is an adjective for speech, writing, or anything that is indirect or circumlocutory. It also refers to speech or writing that is comprehensive.
- He gave a roundabout report of the war but we only needed to know what started it.
When a person talks in circles, it may be intentional or not. In some cases, a person is trying to make negative information sound less saddening or worrisome. This can be called ‘Euphemistic’ or ‘Diffusive’.
Talking in circles can be for many other reasons. Words that simply refer to the act or state of passing a message in circles include ‘Circumlocutory’, ‘Indirect’, Roundabout’, ‘Circuitous’, etc.