Circumstantial speech (also known as circumstantiality) is a speech pattern characterized by rambling, unnecessary comments, and irrelevant details. Individuals exhibiting circumstantial speech have difficulty 'getting to the point' - their focus wanders to other unnecessary topics or ideas. They are only talking about circumstances instead of answering the question.
Typically circumstantial speech eventually returns to the relevant topic or question.
An example would be asking someone if they had a pet. If they are exhibiting circumstantial speech, they may begin by talking about the history of pets followed by their childhood pet's favorite food. Then they may talk about their friends' pets and what their names are before finally answering the question of whether or not they own a pet. Circumstantial speech is associated with schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder.