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circumvent (verb) travel around something, blocking the way; find a method to overcome a difficulty, a problem, or a rule.

When something blocks your way, and you cannot proceed straight, you go around it, or change direction, thus avoiding it. That is, you circumvent it. When a road is blocked by stones or landslides, you change direction or skirt around them. This going round is circumventing. When you face a problem or a difficulty, you find a method to overcome it. That is, you circumvent it, by using a clever, and sometimes a deceitful method. You circumvent a law by finding loopholes in it and making use of them to your advantage.

  • He circumvented the problem of paying a heavy tax, by splitting his income in halves, each half below the tax level, and showing one half as the income of his wife.
  • Circumventing law requires cleverness and at times, the willingness to deceive. We can circumvent the need for immediate payment by issuing a check.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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