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[en-kuhm-puh s] /ɛnˈkʌm pəs/
verb (used with object)
to form a circle about; encircle; surround:
He built a moat to encompass the castle.
to enclose; envelop:
The folds of a great cloak encompassed her person.
to include comprehensively:
a work that encompasses the entire range of the world's religious beliefs.
Obsolete. to outwit.
Origin of encompass
First recorded in 1545-55; en-1 + compass
Related forms
encompassment, noun
unencompassed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for encompassed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All the afternoon they wandered about, until black night encompassed them.

    King Philip

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott
  • There was a wedge-shaped garden in front, and it was encompassed by chestnut-trees.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • I felt I ought to marry her at once to shield her from the dangers that encompassed her.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • They have encompassed them with gardens, and filled them with fountains.

    Tancred Benjamin Disraeli
  • The top rises in a cone, or pyramid of stone, encompassed by battlements.

  • The smiles that encompassed him seemed to him like mere grimacing.

    The Nabob, Volume 1 (of 2) Alphonse Daudet
  • I was like a man in a dream, encompassed by invisible obstacles.

    The Hand in the Dark Arthur J. Rees
British Dictionary definitions for encompassed


verb (transitive)
to enclose within a circle; surround
to bring about; cause to happen; contrive: he encompassed the enemy's ruin
to include entirely or comprehensively: this book encompasses the whole range of knowledge
Derived Forms
encompassment, noun
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 encompassed



1550s, from en- (1) "make, put in" + compass. Related: Encompassed; encompasses; encompassing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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