To talk about something without mentioning it directly or avoid getting to the core of the subject--to try to bring up a subject in a roundabout way. Often motivated from a desire not to speak frankly about the subject, either because the subject is taboo, it's impolite to bring it up directly, or the conversation is perceived likely to be painful.
Well, Joe, I heard you were thinking about selling your car...
So, Joe, how much did you want for that Explorer of yours?
Susy, what are your plans for the future?
Susy, will you marry me?
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