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

Even so, some young scientists are more circumspect. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "NSF’s huge ecological observatory is open for business. But tensions remain," 29 Aug. 2019 Market watchers are becoming increasingly circumspect about what lies ahead. Washington Post, "US stock indexes veer slightly lower, shedding early gains," 27 Aug. 2019 Physicists can be full of themselves, but the most experienced and accomplished among them are usually circumspect. George Musser, Scientific American, "The Search for Truth in Physics," 25 Aug. 2019 But destination managers and regulators need to be circumspect about some possible fall outs. Albert N. Kimbu, Quartz Africa, "The problem with Ghana’s Year of Return diaspora campaign to boost tourism," 8 Aug. 2019 Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said authorities are being appropriately circumspect in determining Legan’s motivations. Leonardo Castañeda, The Mercury News, "Gilroy shooting: Hate motive debated as suspect’s background emerges," 31 July 2019 Companies have been particularly circumspect this year because of inevitable comparisons to 2018, when gangbuster earnings were padded by US tax cuts. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Forget earnings. The smart money is looking to the future," 14 July 2019 Woolley had another reason to be circumspect: Since the dig had started, artifacts, especially golden ones, were going missing, presumably stolen by members of the team. National Geographic, "The royal tombs of Ur revealed Mesopotamia's golden splendor," 22 May 2019 As a consequence, quantum theory forces us to be circumspect in assigning physical reality to individual properties. Quanta Magazine, "Entanglement Made Simple," 28 Apr. 2016

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

8 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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