[sur-kuh m-skrahyb, sur-kuh m-skrahyb]
- to draw a line around; encircle: to circumscribe a city on a map.
- to enclose within bounds; limit or confine, especially narrowly: Her social activities are circumscribed by school regulations.
- to mark off; define; delimit: to circumscribe the area of a science.
- to draw (a figure) around another figure so as to touch as many points as possible.
- (of a figure) to enclose (another figure) in this manner.
Origin of circumscribe
1350–1400; Middle English < Latin circumscrībere, equivalent to circum- circum- + scrībere to write
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
2. restrict, restrain, check, hamper, hinder.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for circumscribe
The first step to be taken must be to endeavour to circumscribe their limits.Beric the Briton
G. A. Henty
A new spirit has now gone abroad which no walls can bound or circumscribe.Revisiting the Earth
James Langdon Hill
I know what you mean, but I do not intend to allow any duty to circumscribe my art.The Captain of the Gray-Horse Troop
It was his professed object to restrain Russia, and to circumscribe her limits.
To circumscribe their power a new army of Mamelukes was formed, called the Borgis.Caesar's Column
- to restrict within limits
- to mark or set the bounds of
- to draw a geometric construction around (another construction) so that the two are in contact but do not intersectCompare inscribe (def. 4)
- to draw a line round
C15: from Latin circumscrībere, from circum- + scrībere to write
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for circumscribe
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To draw a figure around another figure so as to touch as many points as possible. A circle that is circumscribed around a triangle touches it at each of the triangle's three vertices.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.