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

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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

Portuguese men-of-war set sail under translucent inflatable bladders, circumnavigating the earth like their namesake ship. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 22 July 2019 Larry Diamond, a respected political scientist at Stanford, has spent 40 years circumnavigating the globe promoting democracy in Nigeria, Venezuela and some 70 other countries. New York Times, "Democracy in Crisis," 15 June 2019 But these kinds of adventures are just par for the course—if that course was circumnavigating the globe in a hot air balloon—for members of The Explorer’s Club. Georgia Frances King, Quartz, "The world’s most famous explorers on how they handle high-stress situations," 14 Aug. 2019 To be the first person on earth to circumnavigate Africa—more than 22,000 miles and 30 countries—in an electric vehicle loaded with foldable solar panels. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "Mario Rigby Is Cycling Across Canada for 72 Days to Make a Point," 8 July 2019 On July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart flew toward Howland Island, one of the last stops on her attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Alec Forssmann, National Geographic, "Missing! The unsolved mystery of Amelia Earhart's last flight," 1 July 2019 In Manteca, city officials circumnavigated that problem — literally — by building a separate bike and pedestrian path that skirts the interchange. Michael Cabanatuan,, "Prepare to be perplexed: New diverging diamond interchanges coming to California," 19 July 2019 Last autumn, the Michigan native circumnavigated the United States, traveling down 10,000 miles on mostly blue line highways. Julianne G. Crane, Houston Chronicle, "Truck campers: Versatile camping almost anywhere," 15 June 2019 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

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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Statistics for circumnavigate

Last Updated

3 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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

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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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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