verb (used with object), cir·cum·scribed, cir·cum·scrib·ing.
- to draw a line around; encircle: to circumscribe a city on a map.
- to enclose within bounds; limit or confine, especially narrowly: Her social activities are circumscribed by school regulations.
- to mark off; define; delimit: to circumscribe the area of a science.
- to draw (a figure) around another figure so as to touch as many points as possible.
- (of a figure) to enclose (another figure) in this manner.
- to restrict within limits
- to mark or set the bounds of
- to draw a geometric construction around (another construction) so that the two are in contact but do not intersectCompare inscribe (def. 4)
- to draw a line round
v.late 14c., from Latin circumscribere “to make a circle around, encircle, draw a line around; limit, restrain, confine, set the boundaries of,” from circum- “around” (see circum-) + scribere “write” (see script (n.)). Related: Circumscribed; circumscribing.
- 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.