[sur-kuh m-vuh-loo-shuh n]
See more synonyms for circumvolution on
  1. the act of rolling or turning around: planetary circumvolution.
  2. a single complete turn or cycle.
  3. a winding or folding about something: the circumvolutions of a boa.
  4. a fold so wound: the circumvolution of a snail shell.
  5. a winding in a sinuous course; a sinuosity: the circumvolutions of the river.
  6. a roundabout course or procedure, or an instance of such: The speaker's circumvolutions bored the audience to tears.

Origin of circumvolution

1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin circumvolūtiōn- (stem of circumvolūtiō), equivalent to Latin circumvolūt(us) (past participle of circumvolvere to circumvolve) (circum- circum- + volū- past participle stem of volvere to roll + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion
Related formscir·cum·vo·lu·to·ry [suhr-kuh m-vuh-loo-tuh-ree] /ˌsʌr kəm vəˈlu tə ri/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for circumvolution

whirl, convolution, circulation, turn, gyration, rotation

Examples from the Web for circumvolution

Historical Examples of circumvolution

  • No doubt was possible: the two lobes, the circumvolution of the brain to the minute red lines of the blood-vessels, all was there.

British Dictionary definitions for circumvolution


  1. the act of turning, winding, or folding around a central axis
  2. a single complete turn, cycle, or fold
  3. anything winding or sinuous
  4. a roundabout course or procedure
Derived Formscircumvolutory, adjective

Word Origin for circumvolution

C15: from Medieval Latin circumvolūtiō, from Latin circumvolvere, from circum- + volvere to roll
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 circumvolution

mid-15c., noun of action from past participle stem of Latin circumvolvere "to revolve through, to roll around" (see circumvolve).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper