[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 encirclement

Contemporary Examples of encirclement

Historical Examples of encirclement

  • The fable of the war of defence was helped out with the fable of encirclement.

  • The English "arrangement" consisted in the encirclement of Germany.

    The Kaiser's Memoirs

    William II, German Emperor

  • It was now a salient threatened with encirclement on the north and south.

  • By the shadow's echo of his movements, he could trace a vague outline of encirclement.

    Shock Treatment

    Stanley Mullen

  • The union of these ambitions in a common course of action, duly planned, is what we call the "policy of encirclement."

    The Kaiser's Memoirs

    William II, German Emperor

British Dictionary definitions for encirclement



(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 encirclement



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper