a prefix with the meaning “round about, around,” found in Latin loanwords, especially derivatives of verbs that had the general senses “to encompass or surround” (circumference; circumjacent; circumstance) or “to go around” by the means or in the manner specified by the verb (circumnavigate; circumscribe); on this basis forming adjectives in English with the meaning “surrounding” that named by the stem (circumocular; circumpolar).
English Affixes From A To Z: A One-Stop List Of Suffixes, Prefixes, and Combining FormsIn English, we love to make new words by adding all sorts of bits to the front and back of existing terms. These are called affixes, and they are added to the base or stem of a word. When attached to the end of word, the affix is called a suffix. And to the beginning? A prefix.
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British Dictionary definitions for circum-
around; surrounding; on all sidescircumlocution; circumrotate
Word Origin for circum-
from Latin circum around, from circus circle
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
Medicine definitions for circum-
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Science definitions for circum-
A prefix meaning around, as in circumscribe, to draw a figure around another figure.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.