• synonyms


[sur-kuhm-vent, sur-kuhm-vent]
verb (used with object)
  1. to go around or bypass: to circumvent the lake; to circumvent the real issues.
  2. to avoid (defeat, failure, unpleasantness, etc.) by artfulness or deception; avoid by anticipating or outwitting: He circumvented capture by anticipating their movements.
  3. to surround or encompass, as by stratagem; entrap: to circumvent a body of enemy troops.
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Origin of circumvent

1545–55; < Latin circumventus (past participle of circumvenīre to come around, surround, oppress, defraud), equivalent to circum- circum- + ven(īre) to come + -tus past participle suffix
Related formscir·cum·vent·er, cir·cum·ven·tor, nouncir·cum·ven·tion, nouncir·cum·ven·tive, adjectiveun·cir·cum·vent·ed, adjective


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

prevent, thwart, deceive, stymie, avoid, sidestep, evade, bypass, skirt, cramp, stump, ensnare, elude, beguile, queer, outflank, outwit, circumnavigate, disappoint, crimp

Examples from the Web for circumventing

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for circumventing


verb (tr)
  1. to evade or go around
  2. to outwit
  3. to encircle (an enemy) so as to intercept or capture
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Derived Formscircumventer or circumventor, nouncircumvention, nouncircumventive, adjective

Word Origin

C15: from Latin circumvenīre, from circum- + venīre to come
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 circumventing



mid-15c., "to surround by hostile stratagem," from Latin circumventus, past participle of circumvenire "to get around, be around, encircle, surround," in figurative sense "to oppress, assail, cheat," from circum "around" (see circum-) + venire "to come" (see venue). Meaning "to go round" is from 1840. Related: Circumvented; circumventing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper