[en-kuhm-puh s]

verb (used with object)

to form a circle about; encircle; surround: He built a moat to encompass the castle.
to enclose; envelop: The folds of a great cloak encompassed her person.
to include comprehensively: a work that encompasses the entire range of the world's religious beliefs.
Obsolete. to outwit.

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. 2019

Related Words for encompassing

enveloping, surrounding, ambient, circumferential

Examples from the Web for encompassing

Contemporary Examples of encompassing

Historical Examples of encompassing

  • She was always there, encompassing him with her breath, reminding him that he was hers.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • Her emotions began to take control when faced with his encompassing desire.


    Emile Zola

  • All the hopes and desires of the autumn smote him with encompassing blows.


    E. F. Benson

  • Its encompassing obsession is freedom, or at least the appearance of freedom.

  • The race that built the factories and developed the encompassing farms.

    The Servant Problem

    Robert F. Young

British Dictionary definitions for encompassing


verb (tr)

to enclose within a circle; surround
to bring about; cause to happen; contrivehe encompassed the enemy's ruin
to include entirely or comprehensivelythis book encompasses the whole range of knowledge
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 encompassing



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper