The saying "going around the houses" generally means to approach something in a long-winded or indirect manner. It suggests taking a lot more steps or spending a lot more time than needed to get something done. So, instead of getting straight to the point, you wander here and there, sort of like taking the scenic route when a more direct path is available.
When someone says they're "going around the houses," they mean they're taking a long time to get to their point or to accomplish a task. It can involve doing many unnecessary steps or giving a lot of unneeded details. Essentially, it means you're not being as direct or efficient as you could be.
Let's explore its core meanings and usage:
The phrase “going around the houses” is a British idiom that means to approach a subject indirectly or to take a long time to get to the point. The phrase is believed to have originated from the practice of door-to-door salesmen or collectors who went around the houses in a neighborhood.
To help you better understand when to use this phrase, let's look at some examples from different situations:
The phrase isn't as common in pop culture as some idioms, but it does crop up now and then to highlight the idea of being unnecessarily complex or indirect.
Let's see some examples:
There are plenty of other phrases that capture the same idea as "going around the houses."
Here are some:
"Going around the houses" refers to taking a longer or more complex route to explain something or get something done. It implies that a person is being indirect or unnecessarily detailed.
You can use the phrase as a verb phrase to describe someone's actions or behavior. For instance: "He's going around the houses instead of getting to the point." Or, "Why are we going around the houses when we could solve this easily?"
Yes, the phrase originally comes from the idea of physically walking around the houses, rather than taking a more direct route. Over time, it's come to represent a more figurative concept of avoiding straightforwardness.
It can be. The phrase is often used to critique meetings, presentations, or discussions that are felt to be taking too long to get to the point.
Generally, it is used to point out unnecessary complexity or length, so it often carries a negative connotation.
Yes, the phrase can describe a piece of writing that is overly detailed or takes too long to get to the main point.
Not necessarily, although the two can overlap. Procrastination is about delaying action, while "going around the houses" refers to taking a longer or more complex route to achieve an action.
Being clear and direct can help. Make sure you know what you want to say or accomplish, and try to communicate that as simply as you can.
It's more commonly used in British English, but Americans may understand the meaning in context.
They are similar but not the same. "Beating around the bush" usually refers to avoiding the main topic, often due to sensitivity or awkwardness. "Going around the houses" refers more to adding unnecessary complexity or length to a discussion or task.
The phrase "going around the houses" is a useful idiom to describe instances where things are made more complicated than they need to be. Understanding this phrase can help you recognize when discussions or tasks are getting sidetracked by unnecessary details or deviations.
Here's a quick recap: