cir·​cum·​nav·​i·​gate | \ ˌsər-kəm-ˈna-və-ˌgāt How to pronounce circumnavigate (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from circumnavigate

circumnavigation \ ˌsər-​kəm-​ˌna-​və-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce circumnavigation (audio) \ noun
circumnavigator \ ˌsər-​kəm-​ˈna-​və-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce circumnavigator (audio) \ noun

Examples of circumnavigate in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Millennials are choosing solutions that circumnavigate physicians, accessing direct-to-consumer diagnoses and prescriptions for conditions like hair loss, erectile dysfunction, and skin care. STAT, "We were inspired to become primary care physicians. Now we’re reconsidering a field in crisis," 20 June 2019 The company offered trips that circumnavigated Cuba, allowing customers to visit six cities including Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago. David Lyons,, "You can still fly to Cuba despite Trump’s new ban. Here’s how.," 7 June 2019 Since then, she's found different ways to travel responsibly—like her time as a crewmember on Earthrace, a state-of-the-art ship run on biodiesel (rather than petroleum diesel) that circumnavigates the globe to promote renewable fuels. Tyler Wetherall, Condé Nast Traveler, "The All-Women Sailing Crew Trying to Save the Ocean of Plastic," 27 Nov. 2018 This month, Elon Musk’s SpaceX announced that Yusaku Maezawa, a 42-year-old Japanese entrepreneur and art collector, would be circumnavigating the moon in 2023. Alyson Krueger, Condé Nast Traveler, "Will Non-Astronauts Survive Space Travel? Q&A with a NASA Researcher," 3 Oct. 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about circumnavigate

Statistics for circumnavigate

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for circumnavigate

The first known use of circumnavigate was in 1634

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for circumnavigate



English Language Learners Definition of circumnavigate

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


cir·​cum·​nav·​i·​gate | \ ˌsər-kəm-ˈna-və-ˌgāt How to pronounce circumnavigate (audio) \
circumnavigated; circumnavigating

Kids Definition of circumnavigate

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!