circumscribe

[ sur-kuhm-skrahyb, sur-kuhm-skrahyb ]
/ ˈsɜr kəmˌskraɪb, ˌsɜr kəmˈskraɪb /

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.

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

/ (ˌsɜːkəmˈskraɪb, ˈsɜːkəmˌskraɪb) /

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 Forms

circumscribable, 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

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.