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The current version of the vocabulary builder covers over 2720 words & is useful for students preparing for academic English examinations such as SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc. Now you can also listen to the pronunciation of words. - Refer a Friend.


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circumscribe (verb) trace a circle around a point; encircle; to limit.

When you draw a circle around another figure you circumscribe it. A circle drawn around a square, a rectangle, or a triangle with their vertices on its circumference circumscribes them. When you trace a circle around something and enclose it within the circle you circumscribe it. The members of a set are circumscribed. That is, the circle includes the members of the set. (In the passive) When a person's rights, powers, freedom, etc., are limited, they are circumscribed. 'Laws do circumscribe our freedom, but without laws, there will be total disorder in society, everyone trying to do what suits them.' This means that our freedom and rights are limited by laws, but without them, unlimited freedom can only lead to anarchy.

  • By designation, Kenny is the Chief Executive Officer, which means that his powers are circumscribed by the Board of Directors of the company. His powers are limited to implementing the Board's decisions; he cannot take decisions on policy matters.
  • The majority decisions of the UN Security Council have more chances of being not honored, than honored, as the powers of the member nations are circumscribed by the veto power, which can render any decision ineffective.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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