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 Swift walks us through all of this in Miss Americana, the new Netflix documentary that is partly (an extremely circumspect) biography, partly the story of the making of her latest pop masterpiece, and partly an apologia for her political awakening. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Taylor Swift’s Feminine Quandary," 5 Feb. 2020 Many city officials have been circumspect, or flatly skeptical, of the surveillance proposal. Kevin Rector,, "Over 70% of Baltimore residents would support controversial surveillance plane, poll shows," 14 Oct. 2019 Boeing itself has been circumspect about a name change. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Should Boeing rename the 737 Max?," 21 Jan. 2020 Speaking to about 250 Oregonians during a crowded town hall at Tigard High School, Wyden was circumspect about the danger of war. oregonlive, "Sen. Ron Wyden calls for vigorous congressional oversight amid escalating conflict with Iran," 6 Jan. 2020 The South Korean press, which usually monitors North Korean official movements carefully, was circumspect on Monday night about the speculation. Chris Buckley And Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "Is Kim Jong-un Visiting Beijing? Online Video Fuels Speculation," 26 Mar. 2018 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

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

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Circumspect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 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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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

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