circumvent

verb
cir·​cum·​vent | \ ˌsər-kəm-ˈvent \
circumvented; circumventing; circumvents

Definition of circumvent

transitive verb

1 : to manage to get around especially by ingenuity or stratagem the setup circumvented the red tape— Lynne McTaggart circumvent a problem
2a : to hem in Circumvented by the enemy, he had to surrender.
b : to make a circuit around the river circumvented

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Other Words from circumvent

circumvention \ ˌsər-​kəm-​ˈven(t)-​shən \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for circumvent

Synonyms

beat, bypass, dodge, get around, shortcut, sidestep, skirt

Antonyms

comply (with), follow, keep, obey, observe

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The Circular History of Circumvent

If you’ve ever felt as if someone were circling around the rules, you have an idea of the origins of "circumvent" - it derives from the Latin circum, meaning "circle," and "ventus," the past participle of the Latin verb venire, meaning "to come." The earliest uses of "circumvent" referred to a tactic of hunting or warfare in which the quarry or enemy was encircled and captured. Today, however, "circumvent" more often suggests avoidance than entrapment; it typically means to "get around" someone or something, as in our example sentences.

Examples of circumvent in a Sentence

Los Angeles was the beachhead for the sushi invasion, attracting many Japanese chefs eager to make their fortunes and to circumvent the grueling 10-year apprenticeship required in their homeland. — Jay McInerney, New York Times Book Review, 10 June 2007 … Rondon and Lyra paddled to the right side, where they found a channel that circumvented the worst part of the rapids. — Candice Millard, The River of Doubt, 2005 His appreciation of this finer side of life is circumvented by a cynicism that he tells me is common to Eastern Europeans. — Lynne Tillman, Motion Sickness, 1991 The thirty-six-hour workweek established by the garment-industry code was circumvented by having the workers punch out at five P.M., leave by the back door (their usual entrance), then return by the front door and work until eleven P.M. without punching the clock. — Melissa Hield, Speaking For Ourselves, (1977) 1984 We circumvented the problem by using a different program. He found a way to circumvent the law.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Whether the administration’s calculation pays off will depend on how vigorously the sanctions are enforced and whether Iran is able to circumvent them. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "5 Things to Know About New U.S. Sanctions on Iran," 2 Nov. 2018 By focusing on innovation, DIY creativity, and social networking in their makerspace, Conservation X Labs aims to circumvent the need for massive monetary investment. Virginia Gewin, The Atlantic, "A Handheld DNA Scanner Could Crack Down on Wildlife Identity Theft," 9 Feb. 2018 They’re being used as a commodity to circumvent a loophole. Emilie Ikeda, Fox News, "Migrant children being used as ‘commodity to circumvent a loophole,’ border agent says," 12 July 2018 The five were accused of circumventing that law by participating in individual meetings arranged by Barrett that led to the dismissal of interim chief executive officer Pauline Grant, amid kickback allegations. David Fleshler, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Broward Health leadership trial still months off," 21 June 2018 The goal wasn’t to serve justice but to circumvent it. James Atlas, Town & Country, "The Year of the Celebrity Super Lawyer," 3 Dec. 2018 Host reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify Entrants who have or are suspected to have used fraudulent methods intended to circumvent the Rules. The Cut, "Enter to Win $500 Worth of Jewelry and Tickets to Broadway’s Hottest Play," 5 June 2018 The revelation raised red flags for transparency advocates who worried the app was being used to circumvent the state’s Sunshine Law and conduct government business without leaving a paper trail. Jason Hancock, kansascity, "AG's Confide probe cleared Greitens, but lawyers suing over app say it helps them | The Kansas City Star," 8 Mar. 2018 This new technology takes the first steps towards circumventing the issue of cancer reintroduction. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Artificial Ovaries Could Expand Fertility Options For Chemo Patients," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumvent.' 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 circumvent

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for circumvent

Latin circumventus, past participle of circumvenire, from circum- + venire to come — more at come

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Last Updated

19 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for circumvent

The first known use of circumvent was in 1539

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More Definitions for circumvent

circumvent

verb

English Language Learners Definition of circumvent

formal : to avoid being stopped by (something, such as a law or rule) : to get around (something) in a clever and sometimes dishonest way

circumvent

verb
cir·​cum·​vent | \ ˌsər-kəm-ˈvent \
circumvented; circumventing

Kids Definition of circumvent

: to avoid the force or effect of by cleverness They tried to circumvent the rules.

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