Learn English – What’s an idiom for doing something in an unnecessarily complicated way


For an example, I'll quote C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

One day the cat got into the dairy and twenty of them were at work moving all the milk out; no one thought of moving the cat.

Is there an idiom for this type of situation?

Best Answer

Depending on the specifics, one could use "taking the scenic route" to the solution.

This wouldn't work for the cat in the dairy, but it does work in problem solving for example.

An overly complicated device could be a Rube Goldberg machine. This could be used for a metaphorical machine as well, or one could use Rube Goldberg process.