AskDefine | Define circumscribe

Dictionary Definition



1 draw a line around; "He drew a circle around the points"
2 restrict or confine, "I limit you to two visits to the pub a day" [syn: limit, confine]
3 to draw a geometric figure around another figure so that the two are in contact but do not intersect

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. To draw a line around; to encircle.
  2. To limit narrowly; to restrict.
  3. To draw a circle, sphere, or higher-dimensional ball through all the vertices of (a polyhedron, polygon, etc.).

Derived terms

Related terms


to draw a line around; encircle
to limit narrowly; restrict
to draw a circle, sphere, or higher-dimensional ball

Extensive Definition

distinguish circumscription
In geometry, a circumscribed planar shape or solid is one that encloses and "fits snugly" around another geometric shape or solid. Specifically, there must be no object similar to the circumscribed object but smaller and also enclosing the inner figure.
Familiar examples include circles circumscribed around polygons, and triangles or regular polygons circumscribed around circles. See in particular circumscribed circle.
More precisely, in the phrase "a circumscribed F of X", the inner figure X is supposed to be a given, specific figure (such as, for example, "the circle centered at A with radius r"), whereas F stands for a class of figures (such as, for example, "triangle"). Of these figures, a circumscribed one is a figure of minimal size among those of the same shape enclosing X. Usually it is unique in size, but not necessarily in position and orientation.
The definition given above assumes that the objects concerned are embedded in two- or three-dimensional Euclidean space, but can easily be generalized to higher dimensions and other metric spaces.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abate, abbreviate, adjust to, alter, assuage, bar, bound, box, box in, box up, circle in, coarct, compact, compress, concentrate, condense, condition, confine, consolidate, constrict, constringe, contract, cramp, curtail, decrease, define, delimit, delimitate, demarcate, determine, diminish, divide, draw, draw in, draw together, enclose, fetter, fix, hamper, hedge, hedge about, hem, hem in, keep from spreading, keep within bounds, knit, lay off, leaven, limit, localize, mark boundaries, mark off, mark out, mark the periphery, mitigate, moderate, modify, modulate, narrow, palliate, pucker, pucker up, purse, qualify, reduce, regulate by, restrain, restrict, rope off, season, separate, set conditions, set limits, set the limit, shorten, soften, solidify, specify, stake out, stint, strangle, strangulate, surround, temper, tighten, trammel, wrinkle
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