cir·​cum·​nav·​i·​gate | \-ˈna-və-ˌgāt \
circumnavigated; circumnavigating; circumnavigates

Definition of circumnavigate 

transitive verb

: to go completely around especially by water circumnavigate the earth also : to go around instead of through : bypass circumnavigate a congested area

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Other Words from circumnavigate

circumnavigation \ -​ˌna-​və-​ˈgā-​shən \ noun
circumnavigator \ -​ˈna-​və-​ˌgā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms for circumnavigate


bypass, circumvent, detour, skirt

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Examples of circumnavigate in a Sentence

The ship circumnavigated the world. the first ship to circumnavigate the globe

Recent Examples on the Web

But the explosive narrative fragmented into more twisting subplots with each episode, and the lofty, technology-versus-humanity dialogue made circumnavigating the mazes a laborious task. Lorraine Ali,, "After that wild 'Westworld' finale, the robots aren't the only ones disoriented," 26 June 2018 Iranian authorities have blocked Twitter and Facebook from the country’s Internet since 2009, The New York Times reported — although many people have managed to circumnavigate the censors to make accounts. Iman Hariri-kia, Teen Vogue, "How Social Media in Iran Is Used as a Tool for Protest," 11 July 2018 Stephanie Pearson sets out to circumnavigate the frighteningly massive body of water. The Editors, Outside Online, "The Best Travel Stories We've Ever Told," 1 July 2018 Akatsuki saw a gigantic ridge at the top of the cloud layer that stayed in place despite the fact that Venus’ atmospheric circulation circumnavigates the globe in just four Earth-days. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Huge wave in Venus’ clouds changes the length of a day," 22 June 2018 Namely, the speeds at which stars circumnavigate the galaxy closely track with the amount of visible matter enclosed by their orbits—even though the stars are also driven by the gravity of dark matter halos. Natalie Wolchover, WIRED, "The Universe Is Not a Simulation, but We Can Now Simulate It," 16 June 2018 Zach Stafford, Grindr’s chief content officer and INTO’s editor-in-chief, hopes this project allows creators to circumnavigate penelizations by platforms that have confused LGBTQ+ slang for hate speech in the past. Henry Youtt, Billboard, "Grindr's Publication 'INTO' Launches LA Production Studio for LGBTQ+ Creators," 13 June 2018 The record for circumnavigating the world within our own atmosphere was set back in 1992 by Air France, who made the trip in the Concorde in a little under 33 hours. Sophie Weiner, Popular Mechanics, "How Quickly Can We Circumnavigate the World?," 31 Mar. 2018 Try getting this time off work: Viking Cruises just announced the longest-ever world cruise, a continuous, 59-country, 245-day journey that will fully circumnavigate the world and hit every continent except Antarctica. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "The World’s Longest Cruise Is 245 Days, Costs $93,000," 2 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumnavigate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of circumnavigate

1634, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for circumnavigate

Latin circumnavigatus, past participle of circumnavigare to sail around, from circum- + navigare to navigate

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Time Traveler for circumnavigate

The first known use of circumnavigate was in 1634

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More Definitions for circumnavigate



English Language Learners Definition of circumnavigate

: to travel all the way around (something) in a ship, airplane, etc.


cir·​cum·​nav·​i·​gate | \ˌsər-kəm-ˈna-və-ˌgāt \
circumnavigated; circumnavigating

Kids Definition of circumnavigate

: to go completely around (as the earth) especially by water

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Comments on circumnavigate

What made you want to look up circumnavigate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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