Circumscribe meaning

sûrkəm-skrīb
The definition of circumscribe means to draw a circle around something, or to close off or restrict.

An example of to circumscribe is to draw a circle around a square.

An example of to circumscribe is to gate off sheep in a pen.

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To draw a line around; encircle.
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To trace a line around; encircle; encompass.
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To draw a figure around another figure so as to touch as many points as possible. A circle that is circumscribed around a triangle touches it at each of the triangle's three vertices.
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To draw a line around; to encircle.
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To limit narrowly; to restrict.
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(geometry) To draw the smallest circle or higher-dimensional sphere that has (a polyhedron, polygon, etc.) in its interior.
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Origin of circumscribe

  • Middle English circumscriben from Latin circumscrībere circum- circum- scrībere to write skrībh- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Latin circumscrībō, from circum (“around”) + scrībō (“write”). Surface analysis: circum- (“around”) +‎ scribe (“write”).

    From Wiktionary