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Related to euphuism: euphuistic


1. An affectedly elegant literary style of the late 1500s and early 1600s, characterized by elaborate alliteration, antitheses, and similes.
2. Affected elegance of language.

[After Euphues, , a character in Euphues, the Anatomy of Wit and Euphues and his England by John Lyly, from Greek euphuēs, shapely : eu-, eu- + phuein, to grow, bring forth; see bheuə- in Indo-European roots.]

eu′phu·ist n.
eu′phu·is′tic, eu′phu·is′ti·cal adj.
eu′phu·is′ti·cal·ly adv.


1. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) an artificial prose style of the Elizabethan period, marked by extreme use of antithesis, alliteration, and extended similes and allusions
2. any stylish affectation in speech or writing, esp a rhetorical device or expression
[C16: after Euphues, prose romance by John Lyly]
ˈeuphuist n
ˌeuphuˈistic, ˌeuphuˈistical adj
ˌeuphuˈistically adv


(ˈyu fyuˌɪz əm)

1. an affected style in imitation of that of John Lyly, fashionable in Elizabethan England and characterized chiefly by excessive antitheses, alliteration, and elaborate similes.
2. any similar ornate style of writing or speaking.
[1590–1600; after Euphues, the main character in Lyly's works; see -ism]
eu′phu•ist, n.
eu`phu•is′tic, eu`phu•is′ti•cal, adj.
eu`phu•is′ti•cal•ly, adv.


1. an elaborate prose style invented by John Lyly c. 1580, characterized by bountiful figures of speech, Latinisms, extended similes, frequent antitheses, and highly involved syntax.
2. any similar ornate style of writing or speaking. Cf. Gongorism. — euphuist, n. — euphuistic, adj.
See also: Literary Style


A high-flown rhetorical literary style.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.euphuism - any artificially elegant style of language
expressive style, style - a way of expressing something (in language or art or music etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period; "all the reporters were expected to adopt the style of the newspaper"
Gongorism - an affected elegance of style that was introduced into Spanish literature by the poet Gongora
2.euphuism - an elegant style of prose of the Elizabethan period; characterized by balance and antithesis and alliteration and extended similes with and allusions to nature and mythology
prose - ordinary writing as distinguished from verse
References in classic literature ?
Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlungen" seems to be "General-statesrepresentativesmeetings," as nearly as I can get at it--a mere rhythmical, gushy euphuism for "meetings of the legislature," I judge.
Men are naturally hunters and inquisitive of wood-craft, and I suppose that such a gazetteer as wood-cutters and Indians should furnish facts for, would take place in the most sumptuous drawing-rooms of all the "Wreaths" and "Flora's chaplets" of the bookshops; yet ordinarily, whether we are too clumsy for so subtle a topic, or from whatever cause, as soon as men begin to write on nature, they fall into euphuism.
The word 'violations' is a euphuism considering the horrendous war crimes being carried out in Kashmir", said Masood.
For Hamlet euphuism is a school for graceful originality of thought, a school where Osric fails though persists in his attempts at wit.
Imagine the gesture of threading a needle through its "eye" in English or "cat" in French, the rhythmic repeated piercing of fabric with needle and thread, and the euphuism seamstresses mutter when they accidently pierce flesh and draw blood ("aii, j'ai vu le loup
While scholars typically treat the rhetorical flourishes of euphuism as the book's most influential feature, Kesson argues that the volume had lasting effects on the market for prose fiction.
A liberal scattering of borrowings from John Lyly's Euphues, and two passages hardly altered except for the change from the third to first person from Anthony Munday's euphuistic novel Zelauto (1580), indicate that the writer of the prefatory epistles aspires to the by-then outdated style of euphuism rather than the plain-speaking promised by the pseudonym.
Compares EH's early fiction and wartime correspondence with correspondence written by other soldiers of the period, arguing that EH's stylistic inclination for irony, euphuism, and understatement was shared by his contemporaries, making them kindred spirits.
It is estimated that such an approach would also facilitate a supplementary argument claiming that anti- Turkism or Turkokratia (an euphuism relating the five-century long Ottoman rule in the region with mostly pejorative connotations) might be channeled into this larger streamline by the Balkanic radicals.
In order to give governments the benefit of exposure to assets without making it more difficult to invest in Africa, mining sovereign wealth structures should not become a euphuism for nationalisation.
Hardwick, (187) which putatively legitimized the criminalization of sodomy, (188) was a known euphuism for harassing and even incarcerating gay men throughout the latter part of the twentieth century.
Further insight into the development of A Confederacy of Dunces may come by comparing Lyly's flamboyant and affected style, which came to be known as Euphuism, to the ostentatious speech and mannerisms of Toole's Ignatius J.