adjective cir·cum·spect \ˈsər-kəm-ˌspekt\

: thinking carefully about possible risks before doing or saying something

Full Definition of CIRCUMSPECT

:  careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences :  prudent <diplomacy required a circumspect response>
cir·cum·spec·tion \ˌsər-kəm-ˈspek-shən\ noun
cir·cum·spect·ly \ˈsər-kəm-ˌspek(t)-lē\ adverb


  1. <she has a reputation for being quiet and circumspect in investigating charges of child abuse>


Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French circonspect, from Latin circumspectus, from past participle of circumspicere to look around, be cautious, from circum- + specere to look — more at spy
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of CIRCUMSPECT

cautious, circumspect, wary, chary mean prudently watchful and discreet in the face of danger or risk. cautious implies the exercise of forethought usually prompted by fear of danger <a cautious driver>. circumspect suggests less fear and stresses the surveying of all possible consequences before acting or deciding <circumspect in his business dealings>. wary emphasizes suspiciousness and alertness in watching for danger and cunning in escaping it <keeps a wary eye on the competition>. chary implies a cautious reluctance to give, act, or speak freely <chary of signing papers without having read them first>.


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