circumspect

adjective
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.

Other Words from circumspect

circumspection \ ˌsər-​kəm-​ˈspek-​shən How to pronounce circumspect (audio) \ noun
circumspectly \ ˈsər-​kəm-​ˌspek(t)-​lē How to pronounce circumspect (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

Did you know?

Circumspect, cautious, wary, and chary all imply looking before you leap, but each puts a unique spin on being careful in the face of risk or danger. Circumspect, which descends from Latin circum- ("around") and specere ("to look"), implies the surveying of all possible consequences before acting or deciding (as in "he is circumspect in business dealings"). Cautious suggests fear of danger and the exercise of forethought that it prompts (as in "a cautious driver"). Wary emphasizes suspiciousness and alertness in sensing danger and cunning in escaping it (as in "keep a wary eye on the competition"). Chary implies a cautious reluctance to give, act, or speak freely (as in "she is chary of signing papers without reading 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 Ben-Artzi was similarly circumspect about disparaging Thomas. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2022 But Higgins and another researcher, Yevgeniy Golovchenko of the University of Copenhagen, who studies disinformation, are circumspect about the replicability of the academics’ troll hunting approach. Chris Stokel-walker, Wired, 1 Dec. 2021 Although the two men would become symbols of racial harmony, their likenesses sold in South African shops on T-shirts and as salt and pepper shakers, Mr. Mandela was circumspect in his praise of Mr. de Klerk’s role in ending apartheid. New York Times, 11 Nov. 2021 Although the two men would become symbols of racial harmony, their likenesses sold in South African shops on T-shirts and as salt and pepper shakers, Mandela was circumspect in his praise of Mr. de Klerk’s role in ending apartheid. Marc Lacey, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Nov. 2021 One such competitor expressed concerns about safety at the Games and said the host nation’s recent track record of quashing critics highlighted the need to be circumspect. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, 8 Dec. 2021 Asked if that draft would now change, Kerry was circumspect but hinted that changes were expected. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, 10 Nov. 2021 But it’s been drilled into McNamara to be circumspect. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, 5 Oct. 2021 Others were more circumspect about getting the vaccine. New York Times, 17 Nov. 2020

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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Dictionary Entries Near circumspect

circumsolar

circumspect

circumspective

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Last Updated

21 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Circumspect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/circumspect. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for circumspect

circumspect

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of circumspect

: thinking carefully about possible risks before doing or saying something

More from Merriam-Webster on circumspect

Nglish: Translation of circumspect for Spanish Speakers

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