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Blech. These are the grossest words.


[skohp] /skoʊp/
extent or range of view, outlook, application, operation, effectiveness, etc.:
an investigation of wide scope.
space for movement or activity; opportunity for operation:
to give one's fancy full scope.
extent in space; a tract or area.
a scope of cable.
aim or purpose.
Linguistics, Logic. the range of words or elements of an expression over which a modifier or operator has control:
In “old men and women,” “old” may either take “men and women” or just “men” in its scope.
(used as a short form of microscope, oscilloscope, periscope, radarscope, riflescope, telescopic sight, etc.)
verb (used with object), scoped, scoping.
Slang. to look at, read, or investigate, as in order to evaluate or appreciate.
Verb phrases
scope out, Slang.
  1. to look at or over; examine; check out:
    a rock musician scoping out the audience before going on stage.
  2. to master; figure out:
    By the time we'd scoped out the problem, it was too late.
Origin of scope
1525-35; < Italian scopo < Greek skopós aim, mark to shoot at; akin to skopeîn to look at (see -scope)
Related forms
scopeless, adjective
1. See range. 2. margin, room, liberty.


a combining form meaning “instrument for viewing,” used in the formation of compound words:
Compare -scopy.
< New Latin -scopium < Greek -skopion, -skopeion, equivalent to skop(eîn) to look at (akin to sképtesthai to look, view carefully; cf. skeptic) + -ion, -eion noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for scope
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We cannot place ourselves outside it, or limit the scope of its operation.

    Lux Mundi Various
  • Of course there is no such limit to the scope of their employment.

    The Common Law Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  • One of these new laws relates to divorce and is most modern and radical in its scope.

  • Ideas not rejected as heresy were usually within the scope of the church.

  • Labour Protection has not, it is true, by any means reached its full development either in aim and scope or in organisation.

    The Theory and Policy of Labour Protection Albert Eberhard Friedrich Schffle
British Dictionary definitions for scope


opportunity for exercising the faculties or abilities; capacity for action: plenty of scope for improvement
range of view, perception, or grasp; outlook
the area covered by an activity, topic, etc; range: the scope of his thesis was vast
(nautical) slack left in an anchor cable
(logic, linguistics) that part of an expression that is governed by a given operator: the scope of the negation in PV–(qr) is –(qr)
(informal) short for telescope, microscope, oscilloscope
(archaic) purpose or aim
verb (transitive)
(informal) to look at or examine carefully
See also scope out
Word Origin
C16: from Italian scopo goal, from Latin scopus, from Greek skopos target; related to Greek skopein to watch


combining form
indicating an instrument for observing, viewing, or detecting: microscope, stethoscope
Derived Forms
-scopic, combining_form:in_adjective
Word Origin
from New Latin -scopium, from Greek -skopion, from skopein to look at
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 scope

"extent," 1530s, "room to act," from Italian scopo "aim, purpose, object, thing aimed at, mark, target," from Latin scopus, from Greek skopos "aim, target, watcher," from PIE *spek- "to observe" (cf. Sanskrit spasati "sees;" Avestan spasyeiti "spies;" Greek skopein "behold, look, consider," skeptesthai "to look at;" Latin specere "to look at;" Old High German spehhon "to spy," German spähen "to spy"). Sense of "distance the mind can reach, extent of view" first recorded c.1600.

"instrument for viewing," 1872, abstracted from telescope, microscope, etc., from Greek skopein "to look" (see scope (n.1)). Earlier used as a shortening of horoscope (c.1600).


"to view," 1807, from the source of scope (n.2). Related: Scoped; scoping.


word-forming element indicating "an instrument for seeing," from Late Latin -scopium, from Greek -skopion, from skopein "to look at, examine" (see scope (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scope in Medicine

-scope suff.
An instrument for viewing or observing: bronchoscope.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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scope in Technology

Software Evaluation and Certification Programme Europe.
An ESPRIT project.

The scope of an identifier is the region of a program source within which it represents a certain thing. This usually extends from the place where it is declared to the end of the smallest enclosing block (begin/end or procedure/function body). An inner block may contain a redeclaration of the same identifier in which case the scope of the outer declaration does not include (is "shadowed" or "occluded" by) the scope of the inner.
See also activation record, dynamic scope, lexical scope.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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