Definition of circumscribe
1a : to constrict (see constrict 1) the range or activity of definitely and clearly his role was carefully circumscribedb : to define or mark off carefully a study of plant species in a circumscribed area
2a : to draw a line around circumscribed the misspelled wordsb : to surround by or as if by a boundary fields circumscribed by tall trees
3 : to construct or be constructed around (a geometrical figure) so as to touch as many points as possible a circle circumscribing a square
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Examples of circumscribe in a Sentence
The circle is circumscribed by a square.
circumscribed his enthusiasm so as not to make the losing side feel worse
Recent Examples of circumscribe from the Web
The softer those talks look the more likely that the government will have its majority circumscribed by the hard Brexit-leaning lawmakers.
The idea of how a pregnant woman should appear in public wasn’t always this highly circumscribed.
But this power has turned out to be strikingly confined and circumscribed, incorporated into the maintenance of order through something that looks—in many places—more like the centuries-old model of colonial administration.
The islands that hook southwesterly from mainland Florida are circumscribed in terms of growth not just by water and available land, but also by density regulations related to hurricane evacuations.
Virtually everything a president can do on the domestic policy front is circumscribed by the Congress.
The operas’ texts, like Stein’s, are also circumscribed.
In Morey’s worldview, carefully circumscribed by data, charm does little but cloud judgment.
By limiting the number of words in use, and circumscribing their meanings, the intended effect of Newspeak, the appendix explains, was to render thoughts or ideas that were in opposition to the regime literally unthinkable.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumscribe'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Circumscribe has a lot of relatives in English. Its Latin predecessor circumscribere (which roughly translates as "to draw a circle around") derives from circum-, meaning "circle," and scribere, meaning "to write or draw." Among the many descendants of circum- are circuit, circumcise, circumference, circumnavigate, circumspect, circumstance, and circumvent. Scribere gave us such words as scribe and scribble, as well as ascribe, describe, and transcribe, among others. Circumscribe was first recorded in the 14th century; it was originally spelled circumscrive, but the "circumscribe" spelling had also appeared by the end of the century.
Synonym Discussion of circumscribe
CIRCUMSCRIBE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of circumscribe for English Language Learners
: to limit the size or amount of (something)
: to draw a shape around (another shape)
Seen and Heard
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