circumscribe

circumscribe
verb

the power of the local agency has been circumscribed by the national organization

Syn:
restrict, limit, keep within bounds, curb, confine, restrain; regulate, control
••
circumscribe, encircle, enclose, encompass, envelop, surround
Strictly speaking, to circumscribe is to draw a line around something to mark its limits or boundary (a square circumscribed by a circle). Beyond the realm of geometry, however, it suggests something that is hemmed in on all sides (a lake circumscribed by mountains). Encompass is used when something is set within a circle or within limits (a road that encompassed the grounds of the estate; a view that encompassed the harbor). Surround is a less formal word for circumscribe, but it can also refer to an undesirable, threatening, or dangerous situation (surrounded by angry demonstrators; surrounded by skyscrapers). Encircle is similar to surround in meaning, but it suggests a tight or quite circular clustering around a central object (a bowl of fruit encircled by flowers) or a deliberate attempt to surround someone or something for a definite reason (to encircle the enemy camp). Envelop is the right word if something is surrounded to the point where it can barely be seen (a lonely figure enveloped in fog) or if it is surrounded by layers or folds of an amorphous material (enveloped in soft cotton to prevent breakage). Enclose is very similar to envelop, but it suggests that something has been especially designed to fit around something else for protection or containment (a ship model enclosed in a glass case).

Thesaurus of popular words. 2014.

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  • Circumscribe — Cir cum*scribe , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Circumscribed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Circumscribing}.] [L. circumscribere, scriptum; circum + scribere to write, draw. See {Soribe}.] [1913 Webster] 1. to write or engrave around. [R.] [1913 Webster] Thereon is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • circumscribe — I (define) verb border, circumscribere, definire, delimit, delineate, demarcate, demark, determine, distinguish, establish, outline II (surround by boundary) verb begird, belt, border, bound, circuit, circumvallate, cloister, close around, close… …   Law dictionary

  • circumscribe — (v.) late 14c., from L. circumscribere to make a circle, to draw a line around, limit, confine, set the boundaries of, from circum around (see CIRCUM (Cf. circum )) + scribere write (see SCRIPT (Cf. script)). Related: Circumscribed;… …   Etymology dictionary

  • circumscribe — confine, *limit, restrict Analogous words: *restrain, inhibit, curb, check: *hamper, trammel, fetter Antonyms: expand, dilate Contrasted words: distend, amplify, inflate, swell (see EXPAND): enlarge (see INCREASE vb) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • circumscribe — [v] mark off, delimit bar, bound, confine, define, delineate, demarcate, encircle, enclose, encompass, environ, girdle, hamper, hem in*, limit, nail down*, outline, prelimit, restrain, restrict, surround, trammel; concepts 18,130 Ant. free, loose …   New thesaurus

  • circumscribe — ► VERB 1) restrict; limit. 2) Geometry draw (a figure) round another, touching it at points but not cutting it. DERIVATIVES circumscription noun. ORIGIN Latin circumscribere, from circum around + scribere write …   English terms dictionary

  • circumscribe — [sʉr′kəm skrīb΄, sʉr΄kəm skrīb′] vt. circumscribed, circumscribing [ME circumscriben < L circumscribere: see CIRCUM & SCRIBE] 1. to trace a line around; encircle; encompass 2. a) to set or mark off the limits of; limit; confine …   English World dictionary

  • circumscribe — circumscribable, adj. circumscriber, n. /serr keuhm skruyb , serr keuhm skruyb /, v.t., circumscribed, circumscribing. 1. to draw a line around; encircle: to circumscribe a city on a map. 2. to enclose within bounds; limit or confine, esp.… …   Universalium

  • circumscribe — UK [ˈsɜː(r)kəmˌskraɪb] / US [ˈsɜrkəmˌskraɪb] verb [transitive] Word forms circumscribe : present tense I/you/we/they circumscribe he/she/it circumscribes present participle circumscribing past tense circumscribed past participle circumscribed 1)… …   English dictionary

  • circumscribe — transitive verb Etymology: Middle English circumscriven, from Latin circumscribere, from circum + scribere to write, draw more at scribe Date: 14th century 1. a. to constrict the range or activity of definitely and clearly < his role was …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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