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[en-kuhm-puh s]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to form a circle about; encircle; surround: He built a moat to encompass the castle.
  2. to enclose; envelop: The folds of a great cloak encompassed her person.
  3. to include comprehensively: a work that encompasses the entire range of the world's religious beliefs.
  4. Obsolete. to outwit.
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Origin of encompass

First recorded in 1545–55; en-1 + compass
Related formsen·com·pass·ment, nounun·en·com·passed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

incorporate, cover, involve, embrace, embody, comprise, encircle, girdle, envelop, beset, gird, enclose, compass, environ, circle, ring, admit, hold, have, subsume

Examples from the Web for encompass

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Newbury's delight in her, his tender worship of her, seemed to enwrap and encompass her.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • You encompass the earth with one particular spot of it in your eye.

  • But machines could not hope to encompass all the irrationality of Man.

    Mezzerow Loves Company

    Floyd L. Wallace

  • Fly, fly, pretty cloud, and encompass yon pavilion with your form.

    Ixion In Heaven

    Benjamin Disraeli

  • Let us transform and amplify that power and we encompass—destruction.

British Dictionary definitions for encompass


verb (tr)
  1. to enclose within a circle; surround
  2. to bring about; cause to happen; contrivehe encompassed the enemy's ruin
  3. to include entirely or comprehensivelythis book encompasses the whole range of knowledge
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Derived Formsencompassment, noun
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 encompass


1550s, from en- (1) "make, put in" + compass. Related: Encompassed; encompasses; encompassing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper