[sur-kuh m-noo-teyt, -nyoo-]

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 formscir·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

Historical Examples of circumnutation

  • 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

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

    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



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