[en-vahy-ruh nz, -vahy-ernz, en-ver-uh nz, -vahy-ernz]

plural noun

the surrounding parts or districts, as of a city; outskirts; suburbs.
surrounding objects; surroundings; environment.
an area or space close by; vicinity.

Origin of environs

1655–65; < French (plural); replacing Middle English environ < Old French, noun use of environ around; see environ


[en-vahy-ruh n, -vahy-ern]

verb (used with object)

to form a circle or ring round; surround; envelop: a house environed by pleasant grounds; to be environed by bad influences.

Origin of environ

1300–50; Middle English envirounen < Old French environner, derivative of environ around (en en-1 + viron a circle; vir(er) to turn, veer1 + -on noun suffix)
Related formsun·en·vi·roned, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for environs

Contemporary Examples of environs

Historical Examples of environs

  • When last seen, the environs of the works were filled with violence and uproar.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Now, there are dozens of catacombs; the environs of Rome are honeycombed with them.

  • Perhaps he had risen early, and had gone on some excursion in the environs.


    Emile Zola

  • There was not one in the town, or its environs, who did not praise her for this virtue.

    The Autobiography of Madame Guyon

    Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon

  • Boston with its environs and the interior counties were opposed to the embargo.

    Union and Democracy

    Allen Johnson

British Dictionary definitions for environs


pl n

a surrounding area or region, esp the suburbs or outskirts of a town or city; vicinity



(tr) to encircle or surround

Word Origin for environ

C14: from Old French environner to surround, from environ around, from en- 1 + viron a circle, from virer to turn, veer 1
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 environs

"outskirts," 1660s, from French environs, plural of Old French environ "compass, circuit," from environ (adv.) "around, round about" (see environ).



late 14c. (implied in environing), "to surround," from Old French environer "to surround, enclose, encircle," from environ "round about," from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + viron "circle, circuit," from virer "to turn" (see veer). Related: Environed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper