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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 encirclement
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The fable of the war of defence was helped out with the fable of encirclement.

    The War in the Air; Vol. 1 Walter Raleigh.
  • The English "arrangement" consisted in the encirclement of Germany.

    The Kaiser's Memoirs

    William II, German Emperor
  • It was now a salient threatened with encirclement on the north and south.

  • By the shadow's echo of his movements, he could trace a vague outline of encirclement.

    Shock Treatment Stanley Mullen
  • The union of these ambitions in a common course of action, duly planned, is what we call the "policy of encirclement."

    The Kaiser's Memoirs

    William II, German Emperor
  • Little John Aylmer answered with an ecstatic chuckle of delight, and wriggled hurriedly into the encirclement of his friend's arm.

    The Pursuit

    Frank (Frank Mackenzie) Savile
  • All expected that the next attack would be upon the city, an attempt at encirclement from the north and from the south.

    The Challenge of the Dead Stephen Graham
  • He reached the misty outskirts of the mass and began its encirclement, drawing a little nearer to its center with every circuit.

    Tam O' The Scoots Edgar Wallace
  • The Greek frontier was a feeble protection, and the French at Kavadar were threatened with encirclement on their left.

British Dictionary definitions for encirclement


(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 encirclement



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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