• synonyms


[sur-kuh m-skrahyb, sur-kuh m-skrahyb]
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verb (used with object), cir·cum·scribed, cir·cum·scrib·ing.
  1. to draw a line around; encircle: to circumscribe a city on a map.
  2. to enclose within bounds; limit or confine, especially narrowly: Her social activities are circumscribed by school regulations.
  3. to mark off; define; delimit: to circumscribe the area of a science.
  4. Geometry.
    1. to draw (a figure) around another figure so as to touch as many points as possible.
    2. (of a figure) to enclose (another figure) in this manner.
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Origin of circumscribe

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin circumscrībere, equivalent to circum- circum- + scrībere to write
Related formscir·cum·scrib·a·ble, adjectivecir·cum·scrib·er, nounnon·cir·cum·scribed, adjectiveun·cir·cum·scrib·a·ble, adjectiveun·cir·cum·scribed, adjective


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2. restrict, restrain, check, hamper, hinder.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for uncircumscribable


verb (tr)
  1. to restrict within limits
  2. to mark or set the bounds of
  3. to draw a geometric construction around (another construction) so that the two are in contact but do not intersectCompare inscribe (def. 4)
  4. to draw a line round
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Derived Formscircumscribable, adjectivecircumscriber, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Latin circumscrībere, from circum- + scrībere to write
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 uncircumscribable



late 14c., from Latin circumscribere "to make a circle around, encircle, draw a line around; limit, restrain, confine, set the boundaries of," from circum- "around" (see circum-) + scribere "write" (see script (n.)). Related: Circumscribed; circumscribing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

uncircumscribable in Science


  1. To draw a figure around another figure so as to touch as many points as possible. A circle that is circumscribed around a triangle touches it at each of the triangle's three vertices.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.