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[en-sur-kuh l] /ɛnˈsɜr kəl/
verb (used with object), encircled, encircling.
to form a circle around; surround; encompass:
to encircle an enemy.
to make a circling movement around; make the circuit of.
Origin of encircle
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400; See origin at en-1, circle
Related forms
encirclement, noun
unencircled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for encircle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Three times did he repeat this song, and as often did he encircle the post in his dance.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • encircle this ragout with the fried cutlets, and crown with a cauliflower.

    Culture and Cooking Catherine Owen
  • What he did was to encircle our city with an amulet of saving virtue.

    The Memorabilia Xenophon
  • He leant forward, and one arm reached out to encircle her waist.

  • Gloom did encircle him, but in the midst of it there was a light, which he strove and craved to follow.

    The Arena Various
  • Frantically she tried to encircle him with her arms, but Herrick repulsed her.

    Possessed Cleveland Moffett
  • The grasping portion of it could only encircle the tiniest twigs.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • She looked at this man, and a suffocating band seemed to encircle her throat.

    Wayside Courtships Hamlin Garland
British Dictionary definitions for encircle


(transitive) to form a circle around; enclose within a circle; surround
Derived Forms
encirclement, noun
encircling, adjective
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
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Word Origin and History for encircle

c.1400, from en- (1) "make, put in" + circle. Related: Encircled; encircling; encirclement.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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