How does the noun orbit differ from other similar words?
Some common synonyms of orbit are compass, gamut, range, scope, and sweep. While all these words mean "the extent that lies within the powers of something (as to cover or control)," 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
When might compass be a better fit than orbit?
In some situations, the words compass and orbit are roughly equivalent. However, compass implies a sometimes limited extent of perception, knowledge, or activity.
your concerns lie beyond the narrow compass of this study
Where would gamut be a reasonable alternative to orbit?
The words gamut and orbit can be used in similar contexts, but gamut suggests a graduated series running from one possible extreme to another.
a performance that ran the gamut of emotions
When can range be used instead of orbit?
The words range and orbit are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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
In what contexts can scope take the place of orbit?
Although the words scope and orbit have much in common, scope is applicable to an area of activity, predetermined and limited, but somewhat flexible.
as time went on, the scope of the investigation widened
When would sweep be a good substitute for orbit?
The meanings of sweep and orbit largely overlap; however, sweep suggests extent, often circular or arc-shaped, of motion or activity.
the book covers the entire sweep of criminal activity