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).
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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.