cir·​cum·​am·​bu·​late ˌsər-kəm-ˈam-byə-ˌlāt How to pronounce circumambulate (audio)
circumambulated; circumambulating

transitive verb

: to circle on foot especially ritualistically
circumambulation noun

Examples of circumambulate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The stupas’ projecting platforms and pillars were decorated with narrative scenes so devotees circumambulating the stupas (always in a clockwise direction) could familiarize themselves with stories that illustrate Buddhist precepts. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2023 An aerial view of Muslim pilgrims circumambulating the Grand Mosque in September 2017. Eva Dou, WSJ, 31 July 2018 Hajj pilgrims circumambulate around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site, located in the center of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on Aug. 22, 2017. Laignee Barron, Time, 7 Mar. 2018 The minimum of wall text is an invitation to circumambulate. A.j. Goldmann, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'circumambulate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin circumambulatus, past participle of circumambulare, from Latin circum- + ambulare to walk

First Known Use

1606, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of circumambulate was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near circumambulate

Cite this Entry

“Circumambulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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