en·​cir·​cle | \in-ˈsər-kəl, en-\
encircled; encircling; encircles

Definition of encircle 

transitive verb

1 : to form a circle around : surround

2 : to pass completely around

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from encircle

encirclement \ in-​ˈsər-​kəl-​mənt , en-​ \ noun

Examples of encircle in a Sentence

A crowd of reporters encircled the mayor. communication satellites encircling the earth

Recent Examples on the Web

Dust is lifted into the atmosphere by winds of around 70 mph, and as the storm spreads, additional dust raising areas form as well, filling the sky with haze that can encircle the entire planet. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Optimistic That Opportunity Can Survive Martian Dust Storm," 13 June 2018 Windows and glass encircle the entire perimeter of the open-plan layout. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "Ben Affleck Lists Private Georgia Compound for $8.9 Million," 30 May 2018 At its farthest point, or apogee, TESS will have an unobstructed view of the sky and will move beyond interference from the Van Allen radiation belts, which encircle Earth. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Five Things to Know About NASA’s New Planet-Hunting Satellite," 17 Apr. 2018 When my womb flickered with life and encircled my unborn son with a cocktail of favorable hormones? Ashley Abramson, Longreads, "A Motherless Daughter, Mothering," 11 May 2018 Temporary barricades are also expected to encircle the director's box at the London Stadium to prevent fans getting close to Gold and Sullivan. SI.com, "West Ham Star Set to Retain Starting Place As Hammers' Board Brace for Further Fan Unrest," 30 Mar. 2018 As he was encircled by other officers, blood began to pool in the parking lot of the complex. Michael Gordon And Fred Clasen-kelly, charlotteobserver, "‘I don’t want to have to shoot you.’ New police video shows officer facing man with knife | Charlotte Observer," 2 Mar. 2018 Since 2013 Chicago graffiti artist and hip-hop documentarian Flash ABC has overseen Project Logan, a four-sided permission wall that encircles a 3,300-square-foot plot of land between Fullerton and Medill Avenues just west of Milwaukee Avenue. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Hip-Hop / Visual Art Is Logan Square's graffiti permission wall in danger?," 14 June 2018 Palestinian health officials say that more than 2,700 protestors were injured and 62 killed by Israeli soldiers ordered to defend the fence that encircles Gaza. Cnn Senior International Correspondent Sam Kiley, CNN, "Hamas struggles to co-opt Palestinian uprising against Israel," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'encircle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of encircle

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for encircle

Middle English enserclen

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about encircle

Statistics for encircle

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for encircle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for encircle



English Language Learners Definition of encircle

: to form a circle around (someone or something) : to surround (someone or something)


en·​cir·​cle | \in-ˈsər-kəl \
encircled; encircling

Kids Definition of encircle

1 : to make a circle around : surround A deep moat encircles the castle.

2 : to go completely around The dogs encircled the sheep.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on encircle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for encircle

Spanish Central: Translation of encircle

Nglish: Translation of encircle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of encircle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on encircle

What made you want to look up encircle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!