• synonyms


[sur-kuhm-skrahyb, sur-kuhm-skrahyb]
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


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for uncircumscribed

Historical Examples

  • These are they whose levitations are uncircumscribed, who moveth by Desire and where they listeth.

    The Gay Gnani of Gingalee

    Florence Huntley

British Dictionary definitions for uncircumscribed


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 uncircumscribed



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

uncircumscribed 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.