[en-sur-kuh l]

verb (used with object), en·cir·cled, en·cir·cling.

to form a circle around; surround; encompass: to encircle an enemy.
to make a circling movement around; make the circuit of.

Origin of encircle

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at en-1, circle
Related formsen·cir·cle·ment, nounun·en·cir·cled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for encircle

Contemporary Examples of encircle

Historical Examples of encircle

  • Three times did he repeat this song, and as often did he encircle the post in his dance.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Encircle this ragout with the fried cutlets, and crown with a cauliflower.

    Culture and Cooking

    Catherine Owen

  • What he did was to encircle our city with an amulet of saving virtue.

  • He leant forward, and one arm reached out to encircle her waist.

  • Gloom did encircle him, but in the midst of it there was a light, which he strove and craved to follow.

    The Arena


British Dictionary definitions for encircle



(tr) to form a circle around; enclose within a circle; surround
Derived Formsencirclement, nounencircling, adjective
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 encircle

c.1400, from en- (1) "make, put in" + circle. Related: Encircled; encircling; encirclement.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper