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 circumspection (audio) \ noun
circumspectly \ ˈsər-​kəm-​ˌspek(t)-​lē How to pronounce circumspectly (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 McSally, who's one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the U.S. Senate, has been circumspect about impeachment in her public comments. Jonathan J. Cooper, azcentral, "Sen. Martha McSally 'hasn't been convinced' Trump should be impeached," 16 Dec. 2019 Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political scientist who has taught at Georgetown and criticized Saudi Arabia for imprisoning female activists, is circumspect. Joshua Hammer, Town & Country, "The Runaway Princesses of Dubai," 11 Dec. 2019 For all their cosmic ambition, these compositions feel deeply personal and artfully circumspect. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "Angel Bat Dawid will bring you to tears," 22 Nov. 2019 Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education officials were circumspect about the Arkansas results during recent interviews. Cynthia Howell, Arkansas Online, "State's 4th, 8th grade Report Card scores still lag," 30 Nov. 2019 Some investors are looking to the Fed to drop rates again in the early months of next year, although the latest financial market indicators have been more circumspect about future rate cuts. Los Angeles Times, "Fed is expected to cut interest rates again by quarter point," 18 Sep. 2019 When asked what has him most excited and most concerned about his team, Sendek was circumspect. Steve Kroner,, "Santa Clara men’s basketball team returns top five scorers from last season," 2 Nov. 2019 But while consumers are willing to spend, businesses are more circumspect. NBC News, "Banks ride high on consumer spending but IPOs lose luster," 16 Oct. 2019 Related Articles The cast bifurcates between longtime small-theater standouts (Craig Johnson is a kind-but-firm colonel; Carl Schoenborn an unambitious captain; Bob Malos a gung-ho but circumspect sergeant-major) and relative newcomers. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, "Theater review: Gremlin’s ‘Journey’s End’ rewards patient audience," 25 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for circumspect

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

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Circumspect.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for circumspect


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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More from Merriam-Webster on circumspect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for circumspect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with circumspect

Spanish Central: Translation of circumspect

Nglish: Translation of circumspect for Spanish Speakers

Comments on circumspect

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


a feeling of well-being or elation

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