tr.v. cir·cum·scribed, cir·cum·scrib·ing, cir·cum·scribes
1. To draw a line around; encircle.
a. To form or mark the limits of; delineate: The hedge circumscribes the property.
b. To limit narrowly; restrict: Their plans were circumscribed by a lack of money. See Synonyms at limit.
a. To enclose (a polygon or polyhedron) within a configuration of lines, curves, or surfaces so that every vertex of the enclosed object is incident on the enclosing configuration.
b. To erect (such a configuration) around a polygon or polyhedron: circumscribe a circle around a square.
[Middle English circumscriben, from Latin circumscrībere : circum-, circum- + scrībere, to write; see skrībh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.