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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for encompassing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was always there, encompassing him with her breath, reminding him that he was hers.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • Her emotions began to take control when faced with his encompassing desire.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • All the hopes and desires of the autumn smote him with encompassing blows.

    Michael E. F. Benson
  • Its encompassing obsession is freedom, or at least the appearance of freedom.

  • The race that built the factories and developed the encompassing farms.

    The Servant Problem Robert F. Young
British Dictionary definitions for encompassing


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 encompassing



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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