1 of 4

noun (1)

: space or opportunity for unhampered motion, activity, or thought
: extent of treatment, activity, or influence
: range of operation: such as
: the range of a logical operator : a string in predicate calculus that is governed by a quantifier
: a grammatical constituent that determines the interpretation of a predicate or quantifier


2 of 4

noun (2)

: any of various instruments for viewing: such as
: a telescope mounted on a firearm for use as a sight


3 of 4


scoped; scoping

transitive verb

: to look at especially for the purpose of evaluation
usually used with out
Eunice and I … strutted down the aisles, pretending we were looking for somewhere to sit. Really we were just scoping the place out to see who was there.Helene Cooper
Wherever you go, scope out the situation carefully before you take off your dog's leash.Donna-Lynn Musgrave
It abuts Wagner Park, where at twilight people watch softball and scope out the local talent.Rob Spillman
: to view (something) with a telescope
… atop a small hill that once held a mortar battery, two urban park rangers and twenty-five or so shivering visitors scoped the sky.Ian Frazier
If scoping the stars isn't your thing, the ship also offers a rich array of on-board speakers, wine tastings, golf simulations and a casino to keep you busy.The Plainsman (Auburn University, Alabama)
: to examine with an endoscope and especially an arthroscope
Players on every pro team have been scoped, mostly their knees (about 80%) but also their shoulders, elbows, wrists.Kostya Kennedy
He went to the hospital with the thought that the knee would be scoped, a simple procedure, and he would be back in the lineup in about 10 days.Leigh Montville
: to equip with a scope
a scoped rifle


4 of 4

noun combining form

: means (such as an instrument) for viewing or observing
Choose the Right Synonym for scope

range, gamut, compass, sweep, scope, orbit mean the extent that lies within the powers of something (as to cover or control).

range is a general term indicating the extent of one's perception or the extent of powers, capacities, or possibilities.

the entire range of human experience

gamut suggests a graduated series running from one possible extreme to another.

a performance that ran the gamut of emotions

compass implies a sometimes limited extent of perception, knowledge, or activity.

your concerns lie beyond the narrow compass of this study

sweep suggests extent, often circular or arc-shaped, of motion or activity.

the book covers the entire sweep of criminal activity

scope is applicable to an area of activity, predetermined and limited, but somewhat flexible.

as time went on, the scope of the investigation widened

orbit suggests an often circumscribed range of activity or influence within which forces work toward accommodation.

within that restricted orbit they tried to effect social change

Examples of scope in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Folwell, who is running for governor, argued that the state health plan’s board of trustees should have the authority to determine the scope of employee benefits — echoing the argument North Carolina makes in court documents that covering gender-affirming care would be a financial burden. Aliyya Swaby, ProPublica, 14 Sep. 2023 In this day-to-night transition, Anderson introduces a darker interpretation of the flirty, movement-minded apparel the show highlights, demonstrating to previous fans as well as new viewers the scope of his range. Skylar Mitchell, Essence, 14 Sep. 2023 The project management deal could grow to as much as $71 million due to clauses such as an extra $2 million that could be added to account for any increases in the scope of the project, and a $4 million renewal option that could extend the contract to a seventh year. Everton Bailey Jr., Dallas News, 13 Sep. 2023 Both listings are similar in scope, asking each writer to cover the close of their historic tours — Renaissance and Eras — as well as upcoming album or project releases. Jonah Valdez, Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 2023 Due to an international debate over the borders of the Southern Ocean, Vescovo, the adventurer, made two dives in the area, in an effort to keep his achievement safe from doubt no matter how people defined the scope of that territory. Hannah Fish, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Sep. 2023 That means a trail built in the estuary would be limited in scope and can’t be paved — and so won’t meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, a big complication for the project, said Jongenelen, the AMATS transportation planning manager. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Sep. 2023 What has happened so far in the antitrust case Before trial, the judge narrowed the scope of the case, dismissing three claims over how Google manages its Android operating system, its relationships with phone makers and its Google Assistant service. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2023 While little mention was made of the finality of Aerosmith’s touring career, the scope of the songs selected for the set list provided the unspoken sentiments. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 4 Sep. 2023
Rather than general systems, then, those that are more narrowly scoped and domain-specific should be encouraged. Mustafa Suleyman, WIRED, 6 Sep. 2023 Bronzeville Center for the Arts will host its first public scoping session to gather community input to help determine future programming, exhibits and community space for its arts center. Tom Daykin, Journal Sentinel, 27 June 2023 The public input portion, however, will only occur during the current scoping phase of the study, through June 30. Kye Graves, The Arizona Republic, 6 June 2023 As a result of this meeting, the BBC has been asked to pause its investigations into the allegations while the police scope future work. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 11 July 2023 Had the spies been scoping the lake for Russian magnates investing nearby, as the Milan daily newspaper Corriere della Sera posited on Thursday? Ronen Bergman, New York Times, 1 June 2023 Ford plans to reduce scope 1 and scope 2 emissions from operations by 76%, based on 2017 emissions, and scope 3 emissions from all of the company's products by 50%, based on 2019 emissions, by 2035. Leighton Schneider, ABC News, 2 Apr. 2021 Crossbows were scoped up, dialed in, and shot from a lead sled. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, 21 June 2023 Lease sales in several states are scheduled to take place next month, and the Bureau of Land Management has begun scoping for Q3 sales. Jeremy Beaman, Washington Examiner, 26 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scope.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Italian scopo purpose, goal, from Greek skopos; akin to Greek skeptesthai to watch, look at — more at spy

Noun (2)



perhaps from scope entry 2

Noun combining form

New Latin -scopium, from Greek -skopion; akin to Greek skeptesthai

First Known Use

Noun (1)

circa 1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1955, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of scope was circa 1555

Dictionary Entries Near scope

Cite this Entry

“Scope.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 noun
: space or opportunity for action or thought
full scope for expression
: area or amount included, reached, or viewed : range
a subject broad in scope


2 of 3 noun
: any of various instruments for viewing: as


3 of 3 combining form
: means for viewing : instrument for viewing


from Italian scopo "aim, purpose, goal," from Greek skopos "watcher, goal, aim" — related to bishop, episcopal, horoscope see Word History at bishop


by shortening

Combining form

derived from Greek skopos "watcher, goal, aim"

Medical Definition


: any of various instruments (as an arthroscope, endoscope, or microscope) for viewing or observing
scope transitive verb
scoped; scoping

More from Merriam-Webster on scope

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