go (all) around the houses

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go (all) around the houses

To waste one's time and energy saying unimportant things before getting to one's point. Doc, please stop going around the houses and just tell me—how serious are Johnny's injuries?
See also: around, house

go round the houses

or

go all round the houses

BRITISH
If someone goes round the houses or goes all round the houses, they keep talking about unimportant things before they get to the thing they are meant to be talking about. After three minutes of going round the houses I had still failed to get a sense from him of whether he felt he'd done anything wrong. I really can't be bothered going all round the houses with you. This is the deal.
See also: house, round

go round (or all round) the houses

1 take a circuitous route to your destination. 2 take an unnecessarily long time to get to the point.
See also: house, round

go all round the ˈhouses

(British English, informal) do something or ask a question in a very complicated way instead of in a simple, direct way: If you want to ask her something, just ask her directly — there’s no need to go all round the houses!
See also: all, house, round
References in classic literature ?
Then going around the house I placed Grimaud at the other exit, and here I am.
Less talk, more action--Corporate culture tends to give a lot of time to going around the houses talking about things, navel-gazing and re-litigating.
Following the attack, one local resident said: "The police have been going around the houses asking if they knew anything about a young man being hit with a metal bar.
Eurozone leaders have proposed using the European Central Bank [ECB], the European Financial Stability Fund [EFSF], the European Stability mechanism [EMS] and they are now going around the houses to use the IMF," said Gary Dugan, Chief Investment Officer -- Private Banking at Emirates NBD, in a recent research note.
Going around the houses will only delay you gaining the upper hand again.
People sometimes accuse you of going around the houses of doing anything other than confronting difficult issues.
The doctor was going around the houses at the end of the week - most people have had a spell in bed.
However, Maughan insisted: "I've accepted he's gone and I won't be going around the houses to entice anyone back.
Graham recalled: "We were going around the houses that were being cleared and climbed into one that had no stairs.
This was the Welsh term for the custom of going around the houses on New Year's Day wishing the resident a happy new year and for which a penny or two was placed in our bags.
Eurozone leaders have proposed using the European Central Bank [ECB], the European Financial Stability Fund [EFSF], the European Stability mechanism [EMS] and they are now going around the houses to use the IMF [International Monetary Fund]," said Gary Dugan, Chief Investment Officer -- private banking at Emirates NBD.