[ sur-kuh m-noo-teyt, -nyoo- ]
/ ˌsɜr kəmˈnu teɪt, -ˈnyu- /

verb (used without object), cir·cum·nu·tat·ed, cir·cum·nu·tat·ing.

(of the apex of a stem or other growing part of a plant) to bend or move around in an irregular circular or elliptical path.

Origin of circumnutate

1875–80; circum- + nutate < Latin nūtātus, past participle of nūtāre to nod in assent, sway, totter

Related forms

cir·cum·nu·ta·tion, nouncir·cum·nu·ta·to·ry [sur-kuh m-noo-tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, -nyoo-] /ˌsɜr kəmˈnu təˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, -ˈnyu-/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for circumnutation

  • Personally I believe that circumnutation is automatic—is primarily due to internal stimuli.

    Darwin and Modern Science|A.C. Seward and Others
  • It is sufficient for my purpose to point out that Darwin's explanation of circumnutation is not universally accepted.

    Darwin and Modern Science|A.C. Seward and Others
  • The bare fact that circumnutation is a general property of plants (other than climbing species) is not generally rejected.

    Darwin and Modern Science|A.C. Seward and Others

British Dictionary definitions for circumnutation


/ (ˌsɜkəmnjuːˈteɪʃən) /


another name for nutation (def. 3)

Word Origin for circumnutation

C19: from circum- + -nutate, from Latin nūtāre to nod repeatedly, sway
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