cir·​cum·​spect | \ ˈsər-kəm-ˌspekt How to pronounce circumspect (audio) \

Definition of circumspect

: careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences : prudent diplomacy required a circumspect response They are circumspect in all their business dealings.

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Other Words from circumspect

circumspection \ ˌsər-​kəm-​ˈspek-​shən How to pronounce circumspect (audio) \ noun
circumspectly \ ˈsər-​kəm-​ˌspek(t)-​lē How to pronounce circumspect (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for circumspect

cautious, circumspect, wary, chary mean prudently watchful and discreet in the face of danger or risk. cautious implies the exercise of forethought usually prompted by fear of danger. a cautious driver circumspect suggests less fear and stresses the surveying of all possible consequences before acting or deciding. circumspect in his business dealings wary emphasizes suspiciousness and alertness in watching for danger and cunning in escaping it. keeps a wary eye on the competition chary implies a cautious reluctance to give, act, or speak freely. chary of signing papers without having read them first

Examples of circumspect in a Sentence

she has a reputation for being quiet and circumspect in investigating charges of child abuse
Recent Examples on the Web But some Federal Reserve officials were more circumspect, suggesting on Thursday that government spending might be muted by political reality. New York Times, "With Democrats in Control, Biden Moves to Advance Agenda," 7 Jan. 2021 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., embraced the idea of larger payments but Republicans were more circumspect. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Trump reverses on coronavirus stimulus deal, signs package he called a 'disgrace'," 28 Dec. 2020 But the agency has been circumspect about granting other digital assets a pass to skirt federal oversight. Paul Vigna, WSJ, "Ripple to Face SEC Suit Over XRP Cryptocurrency," 22 Dec. 2020 Wiseman has given hundreds of interviews over the years while remaining fairly circumspect about the meaning of his work. New York Times, "What if the Great American Novelist Doesn’t Write Novels?," 15 Dec. 2020 All of these exceptions are questions of specific fact, and courts are very circumspect when a landlord attempts to assert that tenants' activities rise to the level required by the order. Kelly Klein, Star Tribune, "With college virtual, are students stuck with lease?," 11 Dec. 2020 The Trump administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained circumspect in their silence through the weekend. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist raises the stakes for Biden," 30 Nov. 2020 Barbara McQuade, the former U.S. attorney in Detroit under President Barack Obama and current law professor at the University of Michigan, was less circumspect. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan GOP leaders say COVID-19 assistance, not election, focus of White House meeting," 20 Nov. 2020 Elsewhere, conservatives have been much less circumspect. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "Treat Conservatism with the Seriousness It Deserves," 20 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumspect.' 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 circumspect

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for circumspect

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French circonspect, from Latin circumspectus, from past participle of circumspicere to look around, be cautious, from circum- + specere to look — more at spy

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The first known use of circumspect was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Circumspect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce circumspect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of circumspect

formal : thinking carefully about possible risks before doing or saying something

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