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.

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

Did you know?

Circumspect, cautious, wary, and chary all imply looking before you leap, but each puts a unique spin on being careful in the face of risk or danger. Circumspect, which descends from Latin circum- ("around") and specere ("to look"), implies the surveying of all possible consequences before acting or deciding (as in "he is circumspect in business dealings"). Cautious suggests fear of danger and the exercise of forethought that it prompts (as in "a cautious driver"). Wary emphasizes suspiciousness and alertness in sensing danger and cunning in escaping it (as in "keep a wary eye on the competition"). Chary implies a cautious reluctance to give, act, or speak freely (as in "she is chary of signing papers without reading 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 Influential Senators like Hufstetler are circumspect about the program and are on guard as the legislative session nears its close on Monday. Dylan Jackson, ajc, 30 Mar. 2022 However, investors are likely being circumspect about the revenue prospects of these products, given the company’s weak manufacturing track record and its execution capabilities in general, given its Covid-19 vaccine missteps. Trefis Team, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a bit more circumspect. New York Times, 29 Mar. 2022 Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and others were more circumspect. Alan Fram, ajc, 1 Apr. 2022 Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, and others were more circumspect. CBS News, 31 Mar. 2022 The astronauts also may be circumspect when talking with one another in orbit. New York Times, 30 Mar. 2022 Arun is more circumspect, in comparison, embracing a quiet life as a literary scholar in the Indian Himalayas. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 11 Mar. 2022 Eventually, Conley was able to eschew the circumspect recounting and to smile a bit about his role in preserving the Jazz’s 16th victory of the season. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Circumspect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of circumspect for Spanish Speakers


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