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

Asked about the search and interview process for the job, Garrett was more circumspect. Matt Hamilton,, "USC picks Wharton dean to lead business school following controversy," 11 June 2019 Rano is more circumspect about their May-December romance. Marshall Heyman, Town & Country, "Michael Chow's Totally Over-the-Top Wedding Was L.A.'s Hottest Event," 27 Apr. 2019 That makes him a lightning rod of attention on the Eagles, and allows his teammates to be a bit more circumspect. Bob Ford,, "When they need a laugh, Eagles pick a Lane | Bob Ford," 30 Jan. 2018 Senators who had even visited with McCain were circumspect in their remarks about their colleague. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Amid cancer treatment, McCain exercised significant political clout from afar," 25 Aug. 2018 Bill, always circumspect and thoughtful, seemed bemused. Jay Mcinerney, Town & Country, "Harlan Estate, Napa's Most Talked About Winery, Reveals Its Next Cult Red," 17 Jan. 2017 Analysts were more circumspect about the announcement. Harriet Torry, WSJ, "U.S. Factory-Sector Growth Accelerated in November," 3 Dec. 2018 But she was sternly advised to be more circumspect in the future or her job would be at stake. Rachael Herron, Vox, "I used to be a 911 dispatcher. I had to respond to racist calls every day.," 31 Oct. 2018 But she was sternly advised to be more circumspect in the future or her job would be at stake. Rachael Herron, Vox, "I used to be a 911 dispatcher. I had to respond to racist calls every day.," 31 Oct. 2018

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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Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for circumspect

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with circumspect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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