• synonyms


[sur-kuhm-vent, sur-kuhm-vent]
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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

Synonyms for circumvent

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

Related Words for circumvention

avoidance, evasion, bypass

Examples from the Web for circumvention

Historical Examples of circumvention

  • Well, what can't be done by main courage, in war, must be done by circumvention.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • In which there is no wound or defeat or circumvention so long as thou fleest not.

  • From the day an animal is born, instinct and training are bent toward the circumvention of enemies.

    Wild Life Near Home

    Dallas Lore Sharp

  • And even in dreams her genius invented fresh expedients, wrote notes of apology, or made speeches of circumvention.

  • One worthy deed, however, he did perform: he publicly burned the Bill for the Circumvention of the Flamp, amid deafening applause.

British Dictionary definitions for circumvention


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 for circumvent

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 circumvention


early 15c., from Latin circumventionem (nominative circumventio), noun of action from past participle stem of circumvenire "to get around" (see circumvent).

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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