[ sur-kuh m-am-byuh-leyt ]
/ ˌsɜr kəmˈæm byəˌleɪt /

verb (used with or without object), cir·cum·am·bu·lat·ed, cir·cum·am·bu·lat·ing.

to walk or go about or around, especially ceremoniously.

Nearby words

  1. circulatory system,
  2. circulus,
  3. circum-,
  4. circum.,
  5. circumambient,
  6. circumanal gland,
  7. circumbasal,
  8. circumbendibus,
  9. circumcenter,
  10. circumcircle

Origin of circumambulate

First recorded in 1650–60, circumambulate is from the Late Latin word circumambulātus (past participle of circumambulāre). See circum-, ambulate

Related formscir·cum·am·bu·la·tion, nouncir·cum·am·bu·la·tor, nouncir·cum·am·bu·la·to·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for circumambulate

  • Is this me, around whom children ran, as they would about a pillar or a monument, and thought it exercise to circumambulate?

    Arthur O'Leary|Charles James Lever
  • They kneel, clasp their hands, circumambulate the Buddha and file out.

    The Buddha|Paul Carus
  • Do thou, therefore, circumambulate that great hero cheerfully.

British Dictionary definitions for circumambulate


/ (ˌsɜːkəmˈæmbjʊˌleɪt) /


to walk around (something)
(intr) to avoid the point
Derived Formscircumambulation, nouncircumambulator, nouncircumambulatory, adjective

Word Origin for circumambulate

C17: from Late Latin circum- + ambulāre to walk

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

Word Origin and History for circumambulate



1650s, from Latin circumambulatus, past participle of circumambulare "to walk around," from circum "around" (see circum-) + ambulare "to walk" (see amble). Related: Circumambulated; circumambulating; circumambulation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper