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Circumscribe   Listen
verb
Circumscribe  v. t.  (past & past part. circumscribed; pres. part. circumscribing)  
1.
To write or engrave around. (R.) "Thereon is circumscribed this epitaph."
2.
To inclose within a certain limit; to hem in; to surround; to bound; to confine; to restrain. "To circumscribe royal power."
3.
(Geom.) To draw a line around so as to touch at certain points without cutting. See Inscribe, 5.
Synonyms: To bound; limit; restrict; confine; abridge; restrain; environ; encircle; inclose; encompass.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Circumscribe" Quotes from Famous Books



... hold in, keep under, bridle, curb, keep, repress, check, hinder, keep back, restrict, circumscribe, hold, keep down, suppress, confine, ...
— English Synonyms and Antonyms - With Notes on the Correct Use of Prepositions • James Champlin Fernald

... acts merely upon those who were not, and never could be made, the objects of mercy; and it acts upon these according to the full measure of their ill-desert, as well as according to the exigencies of the moral empire of God. It has no limits, except those which circumscribe and bound ...
— A Theodicy, or, Vindication of the Divine Glory • Albert Taylor Bledsoe

... disliked them as insincere. Certainly if I had fulfilled the career which my ambition predicted,—become the founder of a new school in pathology, and summed up my theories in academical lectures,—I should have added another authority, however feeble, to the sects which circumscribe the interest of man to the life that has its ...
— A Strange Story, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... unquestionably do in fact exist. But in this exceptional case, in which a high social function is, for important reasons, bestowed on birth instead of being put up to competition, all free nations contrive to adhere in substance to the principle from which they nominally derogate; for they circumscribe this high function by conditions avowedly intended to prevent the person to whom it ostensibly belongs from really performing it; while the person by whom it is performed, the responsible minister, does obtain the post by a competition from which no full-grown citizen of the ...
— The Subjection of Women • John Stuart Mill

... trade was free by the great law of nature, and that neither France, England, nor the United Provinces, were to receive edicts on this great subject from Spain and Portugal. It was absurd to circumscribe commercial intercourse at the very moment of exchanging war for peace. To recognise the liberty of the States upon paper, and to attempt the imposition of servitude in reality, was a manifest contradiction. The ocean was free to all nations. ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... of compassion rises in my bosom, when the spontaneous tear starts from my eye, what frigid moralist shall "stop the genial current of the soul?" shall say to the tide of passion, So far shall thou go, and no farther?—Shall man presume to circumscribe that which Providence ...
— Tales And Novels, Vol. 8 • Maria Edgeworth

... Magistrate (Isaiah XLIS. 23) 'to bow down with his face toward the earth and lick up the dust of her feet,'—her to subject to his political drifts and conceived opinions by mastering her revenue, and so by his examinant Committees to circumscribe her free election of ministers,—is neither just nor pious: no honour done to the Church, but a ...
— The Life of John Milton, Volume 5 (of 7), 1654-1660 • David Masson

... together and perceives their relative worth; which is as much as to say that it expresses a new attitude of will in the presence of a world better understood and turned to some purpose. The limits of reflection mark those of concerted and rational action; they circumscribe the field of cumulative experience, or, what is the same ...
— The Life of Reason • George Santayana

... doth circumscribe the dreaming man, because the spring is cold. The fragrant whiff, which wafts itself into man's nose, is the perfume ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book I • Cao Xueqin

... she said, veering round. "You are quite right to circumscribe me. There is nothing so boring as the gratitude that will out. It is only the absence of it, too plainly expressed, that is unpleasant. But you won't find that in me either." She gave him a smile as she lowered her parasol to turn into ...
— Hilda - A Story of Calcutta • Sara Jeannette Duncan

... Designs of the Divine Wisdom in the Creation or Government of the World, is to suppose that we have a comprehension of God's Works, adequate or commensurate thereunto; which is not only to conceive of his Wisdom as not being infinite, but even to circumscribe it within very narrow bounds. If the Wisdom of God, (like his other Attributes) does infinitely surpass our reach, his Views must, for that reason, be necessarily oftentimes, as much beyond our short Sight. For us then, when we see not the reason why any thing is, to take upon us ...
— Occasional Thoughts in Reference to a Vertuous or Christian life • Lady Damaris Masham

... bide my time," he said to himself; "but I'll circumscribe 'em yet, as sure as my ...
— Frank Oldfield - Lost and Found • T.P. Wilson

... familiar with the imperative laws and lines which circumscribe the fashionable world will realize just how marked a departure it was. It was a remarkable party. The very highest and most sought after of the fashionable world were there, a few of them, and John Warden was there in his new business suit of grey, looking and ...
— The Chautauqua Girls At Home • Pansy, AKA Isabella M. Alden

... alone and agree to clear the town of toughs or draw no pay. The Mayor and Council were paralyzed in a double sense: by the wild audacity of this proposal, and by their memory of recent threats of the thug-leaders that they would massacre the Council to a man if any further attempts were made to circumscribe their activities. Some were openly for declining the offer, but in the end a majority gained heart of Stoudenmayer's own ...
— The Red-Blooded Heroes of the Frontier • Edgar Beecher Bronson

... breadth. To forward the design, several saw-pits were immediately set to work, and four ship carpenters attached to the battalion, for the purpose of directing and completing this necessary undertaking. In prosecuting it, however, so many difficulties occurred, that we were fain to circumscribe our original intention; and, instead of eight houses, content ourselves with four. And even these, from the badness of the timber, the scarcity of artificers, and other impediments, are, at the day on which I write, so little advanced, that it will be well, if at the close of the year ...
— A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay • Watkin Tench

... place Are present. Not for increase to himself Of good, which may not be increas'd, but forth To manifest his glory by its beams, Inhabiting his own eternity, Beyond time's limit or what bound soe'er To circumscribe his being, as he will'd, Into new natures, like unto himself, Eternal Love unfolded. Nor before, As if in dull inaction torpid lay. For not in process of before or aft Upon these waters mov'd the Spirit of God. ...
— The Divine Comedy • Dante

... returned the naturalist, clearing his throat in some intellectual confusion at the vigorous attack of his companion, "your deductions, if admitted by the world, would sadly circumscribe the efforts of reason, and much ...
— The Prairie • J. Fenimore Cooper

... despoiled of every charm, and wrapped in her shroud of sheeted snow, we turn our gratifications to moral sources. The dreariness and desolation of the landscape, the short gloomy days and darksome nights, while they circumscribe our wanderings, shut in also our feelings from rambling abroad, and make us more keenly disposed for the pleasures of the social circle. Our thoughts are more concentrated; our friendly sympathies more aroused. We feel more ...
— Practical Grammar and Composition • Thomas Wood

... His attitudes and walk were graceful, picturesque, often superb, but not absolutely free from conventionalism. Instead of bursting away, as Kean had done, from the meshes of tradition, he had only expanded and attenuated them to the utmost, and if they did not really cramp, they still appeared to circumscribe Nature and truth. It is evident that without the most persistent efforts he could never have triumphed over obstacles and gained the highest rank in his profession. How ardent and conscientious was the struggle a thousand details in this volume bear testimony. Perhaps ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 15, - No. 90, June, 1875 • Various

... habitual desire, to which every other should be subordinated; it follows, that the love of human applause must be manifestly injurious, so far as it tends to draw down our regards to earthly concerns, and to bound and circumscribe our desires within the narrow limits of this world. Particularly, that it is impure, so far as it is tinctured with a disposition to estimate too highly, and love too well, the good opinion and ...
— A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Middle and Higher Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. • William Wilberforce

... the ethical fulness and symmetry of character, which all should seek; and when science shall be advanced far beyond the barriers that circumscribe it at present, men and women will seek the profound and intuitive anthropologist for consultation, as they now seek the physician ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, August 1887 - Volume 1, Number 7 • Various

... of this nature whereof we speak is made known by its independency of those limitations which circumscribe us on every hand. The soul circumscribes all things. As I have said, it contradicts all experience. In like manner it abolishes time and space. The influence of the senses has in most men overpowered the ...
— Essays, First Series • Ralph Waldo Emerson

... length once begun, a new era may be said to have commenced with regard to them, and it is to be hoped that increasing wisdom and liberality of ideas may clear away some of the remaining obstacles which for so long encumbered, and even yet impede and circumscribe within a very narrow circle, the natural course of their commerce. For the Spanish Government are far from following a similar policy to that of the great Henry the Fourth of France, who, as an encouragement to the manufacturing industry of the country, rewarded those silk manufacturers ...
— Recollections of Manilla and the Philippines - During 1848, 1849 and 1850 • Robert Mac Micking

... instead of a true imitation of the essential principles?—Imagine not that I am about to oppose genius to rules. No! the comparative value of these rules is the very cause to be tried. The spirit of poetry, like all other living powers, must of necessity circumscribe itself by rules, were it only to unite power with beauty. It must embody in order to reveal itself; but a living body is of necessity an organized one; and what is organization but the connection of parts in and for ...
— Literary Remains, Vol. 2 • Coleridge

... for the Unity of Action. With respect to the Unity of Time, we find in Aristotle no more than the following passage: "Moreover, the Epos is distinguished from Tragedy by its length: for the latter seeks as far as possible to circumscribe itself within one revolution of the sun, or to exceed it but little; the Epos is unlimited in point of time, and in that respect differs from Tragedy. At first, however, the case was in this respect alike in tragedies ...
— Lectures on Dramatic Art - and Literature • August Wilhelm Schlegel trans John Black

... Arctic night By X times ox times moose, And build an igloo on the site Of its hypotenuse; If we circumscribe an arc about An Arctic dog and weigh A segment of it, every doubt Is made as clear as day. We also get the price of ice F. O. ...
— The Book of Humorous Verse • Various

... their motives are, what are the data on which they form their opinions—so that to cut off the discussion of other personalities, on ethical grounds, is like any other stiff and Puritanical attempt to limit interests, to circumscribe experience, to maim life. The criticism, then, or the discussion, of other people is not so much a CAUSE of interest in life, as a SIGN of it; it is no more to be suppressed by codes or edicts than any other form of temperamental activity. It is no ...
— From a College Window • Arthur Christopher Benson

... children's children should look back to the Declaration of Independence, and should take heart to begin again the battles their forefathers fought, that thus truth and liberty and righteousness and justice and all the Christian virtues might not be lost in the land; and none might dare limit and circumscribe the principles on which the temple of liberty was being built. Thus, by these centuries of growth and life God said to our people, "I have given you this key to your history, the union of liberty and an enlightened faith—faith and freedom. Be true to these. ...
— American Missionary, Volume 44, No. 1, January, 1890 • Various

... do here give this public notice that my resolutions are to circumscribe within this discourse the whole stock of matter I have been so many years providing. Since my vein is once opened, I am content to exhaust it all at a running, for the peculiar advantage of my dear country, and for the universal benefit of mankind. Therefore, ...
— A Tale of a Tub • Jonathan Swift

... fact not only of a future intention to infringe the rights of the emancipated classes, but of the actual commencement and extensive progress of a Colonial system for that purpose. The object of the laws is to circumscribe the market for free labour—to prohibit the possession or sale of ordinary articles of produce on sale, the obvious intention of which is to confine the emancipated classes to a course of agricultural servitude—to ...
— West Indian Fables by James Anthony Froude Explained by J. J. Thomas • J. J. (John Jacob) Thomas

... hands of a King and privileged class. In its earlier stages the constitutional struggle was between monarchy and aristocracy, the King seeking to make his authority supreme and the nobility seeking to limit and circumscribe it. Accordingly, government oscillated between monarchy and aristocracy, a strong and ambitious King getting the reins of government largely in his own hands, while the aristocracy encroached upon the power and prerogatives of a weak ...
— The Spirit of American Government - A Study Of The Constitution: Its Origin, Influence And - Relation To Democracy • J. Allen Smith

... composition &c. (inclusion in a compound) 54. V. be included in &c.; come under, fall under, range under; belong to, pertain to; range with; merge in. include, comprise, comprehend, contain, admit, embrace, receive; inclose &c. (circumscribe) 229; embody, encircle. reckon among, enumerate among, number among; refer to; place with, arrange with, place under; take into account. Adj. included, including &c. v.; inclusive; congener, congenerous; of the same class &c. 75; encircling. Phr. a maximis ad minima[Lat], et hoc ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... advice on reading: that we should read much, but not many books—but they had no "monthly list of new publications!" Since their days others have favoured us with "Methods of Study," and "Catalogues of Books to be Read." Vain attempts to circumscribe that invisible circle of human knowledge which is perpetually enlarging itself! The multiplicity of books is an evil for the many; for we now find an helluo librorum not only among the learned, but, with their pardon, among ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 3 (of 3) • Isaac D'Israeli

... circumscribe the use of economic sanctions against off-base discrimination made sense. Closing a base because of discrimination in nearby communities was practically if not politically impossible and might conceivably become a threat to national security. ...
— Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 • Morris J. MacGregor Jr.

... of the little life gave them to satisfy the capacities and demands aroused and developed during the brief period of school life, and fed afterwards by their own ill-judged and ill-regulated reading, were found fallen into lives of vice. Have our women, old or young, who make and circumscribe the opportunities of social intercourse and enjoyment, nothing to search out here, and help, as well, or as soon as, to get their names put on committee lists, and manage these public schools themselves, which ...
— Real Folks • Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney

... difficulties of the continuance of the enterprise was the resistance they must needs maintain to the remonstrance of friends. This finally came to be so urgent that it even involved an effort to circumscribe the futile activities. In view of the provisions of Mr. Royston's will no portion of the minor's estate could be used to defray the extremely lavish expenses that the thoroughness and extent of ...
— The Ordeal - A Mountain Romance of Tennessee • Charles Egbert Craddock

... and about sun-set came abreast of it, at about the distance of two leagues. It appeared to be a double range of low woody islands joined together by reefs, so as to form one island, in the form of an ellipsis or oval, with a lake in the middle of it. The small islands and reefs that circumscribe the lake have the appearance of a chain, and we therefore gave it the name of Chain Island. Its length seemed to be about five leagues, in the direction of N.W. and S.E. and its breadth about five miles. The trees upon it appeared to be large, and we saw smoke rising in ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. 12 • Robert Kerr

... substances are not essentially laboratory products. The laboratory combines, it does not create anything. These substances are scattered throughout nature. In their free state, they surround and enter into us, they determine our will, they circumscribe our freedom of device, which is merely the illusion engendered within us by the ignorance ...
— A Mummer's Tale • Anatole France

... persons, and that the difference of creeds, invented by the human understanding, will make no difference in the eternal happiness of man. Thus it does not narrow the sphere of salvation. It does not circumscribe it either by numerical or personal limits. There does not appear therefore to be in the doctrines of the Quaker religion any thing that should narrow their love to their fellow creatures, or any thing that should generate a spirit ...
— A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume III (of 3) • Thomas Clarkson

... various sciences—I mean the positive sciences—divide different objects thus between them, philosophy cannot, in its turn, come forward as a particular science, having a distinct object, the designation of which would be sufficient to characterise and circumscribe it. Such was always the traditional conception: such will ours continue to be. For, as a matter of fact, every object has a philosophy and all matter can be regarded philosophically. In short, philosophy is chiefly ...
— A New Philosophy: Henri Bergson • Edouard le Roy

... which deals with human nature in all its dearest and most intimate concerns, must have partaken of that purity and that elevation—and that it may now be a far holier and more sacred inspiration, than when it was fabled to be the gift of Apollo and the Muses. We may not circumscribe its sphere. To what cerulean heights shall not the wing of Poetry soar? Into what dungeon-gloom shall she not descend? If such be her powers and privileges, shall she not be the servant and ...
— Recreations of Christopher North, Volume 2 • John Wilson

... They dreaded still more dangerous consequences from the claims of their own sovereign, who resided among them, and who, in many other respects, possessed such unlimited authority. They therefore deemed it absolutely necessary to circumscribe this branch of prerogative; and accordingly, in the preceding session, they passed a bill against the establishment of any ecclesiastical canons without consent of parliament.[*] But the house of lords, as is usual, defended the barriers of the ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part D. - From Elizabeth to James I. • David Hume

... the burghers, occupied only with their immediate interests, bestow no thought upon the advancing foe, and when the king requires their aid, they quarrel among themselves, and thus, as it were, conspire with the enemy. Far better is it to circumscribe their power, to control and guide them for their good, as children are controlled and guided. Trust me, a people grows neither old nor wise, a people remains always ...
— Egmont - A Tragedy In Five Acts • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

... a compound) 54. V. be included in &c; come under, fall under, range under; belong to, pertain to; range with; merge in. include, comprise, comprehend, contain, admit, embrace, receive; inclose &c (circumscribe) 229; embody, encircle. reckon among, enumerate among, number among; refer to; place with, arrange with, place under; take into account. Adj. included, including &c v.; inclusive; congener, congenerous; of the same class &c 75; encircling. Phr. a maximis ad ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... historical knowledge. The satisfactory solution is, that Edmund Burke possessed and had sedulously sharpened that eye, which sees all things, actions, and events, in relation to the laws that determine their existence and circumscribe their possibility. He referred habitually to principles. He was a scientific statesman; and therefore a seer. For every principle contains in itself the germs of a prophecy; and, as the prophetic power is the essential privilege ...
— Biographia Literaria • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... continued to do so ever since; and I could not find in my heart to go to another. She commended the book I gave her, Dr. Preston, the Church Marriage; quoted him saying 'twas inconvenient keeping out of a Fashion commonly used. I said the Time and Tide did circumscribe my Visit. She gave me a Dram of Black-Cherry Brandy, and gave me a lump of the Sugar that was in it. She wish'd me a good Journy. I pray'd God to keep her, and came away. Had a very ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. IX (of X) - America - I • Various

... this, it is, surely, superfluous to answer the question that has once been asked, whether Pope was a poet? otherwise than by asking in return, if Pope be not a poet, where is poetry to be found? To circumscribe poetry by a definition, will only show the narrowness of the definer, though a definition, which shall exclude Pope, will not easily be made. Let us look round upon the present time, and back upon the past; let us inquire to whom ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. in Nine Volumes - Volume the Eighth: The Lives of the Poets, Volume II • Samuel Johnson

... prisoner; for if the address of the counsel of the prisoner threatened to be efficient, the judge in many cases would have to interfere: In doing this, it was urged, he might unconsciously pass the exact boundary that ought to circumscribe his remarks; the impression then would probably go forth that the verdict of the jury had been elicited by those remarks; and the judge, instead of being, as he was now, counsel for the prisoner, would be ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... nearly six. Not a few Polterham matrons would have considered that proceeding highly improper, but such a thought never occurred to Denzil; and Mrs. Wade would have spoken her mind very distinctly to any one who wished to circumscribe female freedom in such respects. They had conversed on a great variety of subjects with unflagging animation. Since then he had ...
— Denzil Quarrier • George Gissing

... accustomed to the evils so long. But let public error be tolerated in human society; in the kingdom of God nothing but his eternal truth should he heard and regarded, which no succession of years, no custom, no confederacy, can circumscribe. Thus Isaiah once taught the chosen people of God: "Say ye not, A confederacy, to all to whom this people shall say, A confederacy:" that is, that they should not unite in the wicked consent of the people; "nor fear their fear, ...
— Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books - with Introductions, Notes and Illustrations • Charles W. Eliot

... has authority to circumscribe the inalienable right of Ireland to the largest measure of national self-government it may be in ...
— Ireland Since Parnell • Daniel Desmond Sheehan

... sympathy with the actor nor interest in his fate. But we must be careful how we narrow our theories in such matters. In Werther we have an instance of the same trial, with the same issue as Mr. Arnold has described in Empedocles, and to say that Werther was a mistake, is to circumscribe the sphere of art by a definition which the public taste will refuse to recognize. Nor is it true, in spite of Schiller's authority, that "all art is dedicated to enjoyment." Tragedy has other objects, the katharsis or purifying of ...
— Froude's Essays in Literature and History - With Introduction by Hilaire Belloc • James Froude

... as a thing left to her determination, must be one of such things as were not determinable by Scripture, on that reason which Camero hath given us, namely, because individua are infinita. We mean not in any wise to circumscribe the infinite power and wisdom of God, only we speak upon supposition of the bounds and limits which God did set to his written word, within which he would have it contained, and over which he thought fit that it should not exceed. The case ...
— The Works of Mr. George Gillespie (Vol. 1 of 2) • George Gillespie

... pure psychology can do no more than put himself in the place of all his puppets in the various situations in which he places them. It is impossible that he should change his organs, which are the sole intermediary between external life and ourselves, which constrain us by their perceptions, circumscribe our sensibilities, and create in each of us a soul essentially dissimilar to all those about us. Our purview and knowledge of the world, and our ideas of life, are acquired by the aid of our senses, and we cannot help transferring ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume VIII. • Guy de Maupassant

... boundless night. A rod away its poor, futile glimmer against such mighty odds was understood, standing there with no encompassing walls to mark the boundary of its field. It was like the struggle of a man who stands alone in the vastness of life with no definite aim to circumscribe his endeavor, wasting his feeble illumination upon a little ...
— Claim Number One • George W. (George Washington) Ogden

... therefore, the inauguration of the period of Civil War, or of oppression exercised in defiance of acknowledged rights and of the accepted principles of equity—a lamentable period, in which every bloody contest originated in the determination of the one party to circumscribe or destroy, and of the other to maintain in its integrity the fundamental basis of toleration laid down in the Edict ...
— The Rise of the Hugenots, Vol. 1 (of 2) • Henry Martyn Baird



Words linked to "Circumscribe" :   delimitate, draw, ration, number, delimit, circumscription, keep down, geometry, cap, limit, hold down, line, trace, lessen, describe, delineate, demarcate, minify, decrease, curtail, cut back, content, curb, restrict



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