circumscribe

[sur-kuhm-skrahyb, sur-kuhm-skrahyb]

verb (used with object), cir·cum·scribed, cir·cum·scrib·ing.

to draw a line around; encircle: to circumscribe a city on a map.
to enclose within bounds; limit or confine, especially narrowly: Her social activities are circumscribed by school regulations.
to mark off; define; delimit: to circumscribe the area of a science.
Geometry.
  1. to draw (a figure) around another figure so as to touch as many points as possible.
  2. (of a figure) to enclose (another figure) in this manner.

Nearby words

  1. circumocular,
  2. circumpolar,
  3. circumradius,
  4. circumrotate,
  5. circumscissile,
  6. circumscribed,
  7. circumscribed myxedema,
  8. circumscribed scleroderma,
  9. circumscript,
  10. circumscription

Origin of circumscribe

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin circumscrībere, equivalent to circum- circum- + scrībere to write

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for circumscribe


British Dictionary definitions for circumscribe

circumscribe

verb (tr)

to restrict within limits
to mark or set the bounds of
to draw a geometric construction around (another construction) so that the two are in contact but do not intersectCompare inscribe (def. 4)
to draw a line round
Derived Formscircumscribable, adjectivecircumscriber, noun

Word Origin for circumscribe

C15: from Latin circumscrībere, from circum- + scrībere to write

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 circumscribe

circumscribe

v.

late 14c., from Latin circumscribere "to make a circle around, encircle, draw a line around; limit, restrain, confine, set the boundaries of," from circum- "around" (see circum-) + scribere "write" (see script (n.)). Related: Circumscribed; circumscribing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for circumscribe

circumscribe

[sûrkəm-skrīb′]

To draw a figure around another figure so as to touch as many points as possible. A circle that is circumscribed around a triangle touches it at each of the triangle's three vertices.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.