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[en-vahy-ruh nz, -vahy-ernz, en-ver-uh nz, -vahy-ernz] /ɛnˈvaɪ rənz, -ˈvaɪ ərnz, ˈɛn vər ənz, -vaɪ ərnz/
plural noun
the surrounding parts or districts, as of a city; outskirts; suburbs.
surrounding objects; surroundings; environment.
an area or space close by; vicinity.
Origin of environs
1655-65; < French (plural); replacing Middle English environ < Old French, noun use of environ around; see environ


[en-vahy-ruh n, -vahy-ern] /ɛnˈvaɪ rən, -ˈvaɪ ərn/
verb (used with object)
to form a circle or ring round; surround; envelop:
a house environed by pleasant grounds; to be environed by bad influences.
1300-50; Middle English envirounen < Old French environner, derivative of environ around (en en-1 + viron a circle; vir(er) to turn, veer1 + -on noun suffix)
Related forms
unenvironed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for environs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When last seen, the environs of the works were filled with violence and uproar.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • Now, there are dozens of catacombs; the environs of Rome are honeycombed with them.

  • Perhaps he had risen early, and had gone on some excursion in the environs.

    Fruitfulness Emile Zola
  • There was not one in the town, or its environs, who did not praise her for this virtue.

    The Autobiography of Madame Guyon Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon
  • Boston with its environs and the interior counties were opposed to the embargo.

    Union and Democracy

    Allen Johnson
British Dictionary definitions for environs


plural noun
a surrounding area or region, esp the suburbs or outskirts of a town or city; vicinity


(transitive) to encircle or surround
Word Origin
C14: from Old French environner to surround, from environ around, from en-1 + viron a circle, from virer to turn, veer1
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 environs

"outskirts," 1660s, from French environs, plural of Old French environ "compass, circuit," from environ (adv.) "around, round about" (see environ).



late 14c. (implied in environing), "to surround," from Old French environer "to surround, enclose, encircle," from environ "round about," from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + viron "circle, circuit," from virer "to turn" (see veer). Related: Environed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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