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Circumscribe   /sˌərkəmskrˈaɪb/   Listen
Circumscribe

verb
(past & past part. circumscribed; pres. part. circumscribing)
1.
Draw a line around.
2.
Restrict or confine,.  Synonyms: confine, limit.
3.
To draw a geometric figure around another figure so that the two are in contact but do not intersect.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Circumscribe" Quotes from Famous Books



... Heav'n Repented what it thus had giv'n: For finding equall happy man, Th' impatient pow'rs snatch it agen. Thus, chaste as th' ayre whither shee's fled, She, making her celestiall bed In her warme alablaster, lay As cold is in this house of clay: Nor were the rooms unfit to feast Or circumscribe this angel-guest; The radiant gemme was brightly set In as divine a carkanet; Of which the clearer was not knowne, Her minde or her complexion. Such an everlasting grace, Such a beatifick face, Incloysters here this narrow floore, That possest all ...
— Lucasta • Richard Lovelace

... should we not without hesitation shut them in, and burn them alive? God has conferred on the mlencchas (foreigners) no grant of Hindustan inscribed on imperishable brass. Shivaji strove to drive them forth out of the land of his birth, but he was guiltless of the sin of covetousness. Do not circumscribe your vision like frogs in a well. Rise above the Penal Code into the rarefied atmosphere of the sacred Bhaghavad Gita and consider ...
— Indian Unrest • Valentine Chirol

... permanent than the narrow span of his own existence; yet these monuments, like himself, are perishable and frail; and in the boundless annals of time his life and his labors must equally be measured as a fleeting moment. Of a simple and solid edifice it is not easy, however, to circumscribe the duration. As the wonder of ancient days, the Pyramids attracted the curiosity of the ancients: a hundred generations, the leaves of autumn, have dropt into the grave; and after the fall of the Pharaohs and Ptolemies, the Caesars and caliphs, ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. IV (of X)—Great Britain and Ireland II • Various

... they?' Who could forgive this? For my part, I never can, and never will! I admire Wordsworth; as who does not, whatever they may pretend? but for that short sentence I have a lingering ill-will at him which I cannot get rid of. It is surely presumption in any man to circumscribe all human excellence within the narrow sphere of his own capacity. The 'Where are they?' was too bad! I have always some hopes that De Quincey was leeing, for I did not myself hear Wordsworth ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Volume 19, No. 543, Saturday, April 21, 1832. • Various

... with the precepts of an enlightened age and the sentiments of a virtuous people, seeks by appeals to reason and by its liberal examples to infuse into the law which governs the civilized world a spirit which may diminish the frequency or circumscribe the calamities of war, and meliorate the social and beneficent relations of peace; a Government, in a word, whose conduct within and without may bespeak the most noble of all ambitions—-that of promoting peace on earth and good ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Section 4 (of 4) of Volume 1: James Madison • Edited by James D. Richardson

... difficult to circumscribe the dominion of Attila over the Scythian deserts: yet we may be assured that he reigned on the banks of the Volga; that the King of the Huns was dreaded, not only as a warrior, but as a magician; that he insulted and vanquished the khan of the formidable ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 4 • Various

... was born, and had 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

... 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 ...
— The Chautauqua Girls At Home • Pansy, AKA Isabella M. Alden

... sensible thing said in the House of Commons, on this subject, came from Sir William Coventry: "Our ancestors never did draw a line to circumscribe ...
— The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 1 (of 5) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... the seed thus planted, that has established our relations among ourselves over our wide heritage, and established our relations with the rest of the world, what is its outlook to-day? What is it in the sense of material prosperity? Who can measure it? Who can circumscribe it? Who can, except by the simple rule of three, which never errs, determine its progress? As the early settlement of Plymouth is to the United States of America, as it now is, so is the United States of America to the future possession and control of the world as they are to be. [Cheering.] ...
— Modern Eloquence: Vol II, After-Dinner Speeches E-O • Various

... greatest eccentric perhaps in the annals of French history: in a word, wherever the foot is placed, there arises a sort of lamentation of the eighteenth century—that celebrated century, whose limits we do not pretend to circumscribe as the astronomers would, but whose beginning may be dated from the decline of the reign of Louis XIV., its career closing with Barras, whose immodest chateau still displays at the present day its restored foundations on the soil upon which Vaux, Brunoy, and Voisenon, ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 2, No. 4, March, 1851 • Various

... of little service denouncing these extortioners. They have always existed, and probably always will; but what we can do is to circumscribe the range of their operations and the number of their victims. This can only be done by a legitimate and merciful provision for these poor creatures in their hours of desperate need, so as to prevent their falling into the hands ...
— "In Darkest England and The Way Out" • General William Booth

... their deputies in Carolina. They not only tyrannized over the poor colony, but also employed and protected officers ten times more tyrannical than themselves. When the whole legislature complained of Chief Justice Trott, they paid no regard to their complaints, and absolutely refused to circumscribe his jurisdiction, or remove him from the bench. In times of imminent danger, when the colony applied to them for assistance, they were either unable or unwilling to bear the expence of its protection. When the Assembly allotted the Indian lands obtained by conquest for the ...
— An Historical Account Of The Rise And Progress Of The Colonies Of South Carolina And Georgia, Volume 1 • Alexander Hewatt

... the inexorable limits of possibility. They have only begun to discover how narrow these limits are to them. Unexpected obstacles have arisen on every side, and the soaring purposes of the rebellion have vainly beaten their bruised and wearied wings against the solid walls which circumscribe them within the humble limits of their present uncertain hopes and expectations. The Federal Government, on the other hand, has not changed its purpose, as avowed in the beginning, to restore the national authority, in its unity and ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 1, July, 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... 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 ...
— Occasional Thoughts in Reference to a Vertuous or Christian life • Lady Damaris Masham

... 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 close in ...
— A Strange Story, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... of the apprenticeship are of the most objectionable character, and fully established the 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 give the employers a monopoly of labour, and to keep down a free competition ...
— West Indian Fables by James Anthony Froude Explained by J. J. Thomas • J. J. (John Jacob) Thomas

... 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. Simple and mix'd, both form ...
— The Divine Comedy • Dante

... 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 ...
— The Subjection of Women • John Stuart Mill

... 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, hospitably considering ...
— English Satires • Various

... result of those experiences must ultimately determine our understanding of life. We know instinctively that if we grow contemptuous of our fellows, and consciously limit our intercourse to certain kinds of people whom we have previously decided to respect, we not only tremendously circumscribe our range of life, but limit ...
— Democracy and Social Ethics • Jane Addams

... And so long as he can keep himself clear of the "external relation," to use Mr. Herbert Spencer's phraseology, he has much less difficulty with the "internal relation." The ill-tempered person, on the other hand, can make very little of his environment. However he may attempt to circumscribe it in certain directions, there will always remain a wide and ever-changing area to stimulate his irascibility. His environment, in short, is an inconstant quantity, and his most elaborate calculations and precautions must often and suddenly ...
— Natural Law in the Spiritual World • Henry Drummond

... pronouncing the following triumphant eulogium[164]:—'After all 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 shew 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 ...
— Life Of Johnson, Volume 4 (of 6) • Boswell

... chief 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 search involved. All the large disbursements ...
— The Ordeal - A Mountain Romance of Tennessee • Charles Egbert Craddock

... governed. Chagrined with this resistance, Lincoln transferred the militia to Moultrie, and, at the head of about 2000 troops of the regular service, he marched up the country to Augusta, proposing by this course to circumscribe the progress of the enemy in that quarter. Taking advantage of this movement, by which the regular troops were withdrawn from the seaboard, the British General, Prevost, immediately crossed the Savannah with the intention of surprising Moultrie, who, with 1200 ...
— The Life of Francis Marion • William Gilmore Simms

... to attempt to render the representative of the state a powerful sovereign, and at the same time elective, is, in my opinion, to entertain two incompatible designs. To reduce hereditary royalty to the condition of an elective authority, the only means that I am acquainted with are to circumscribe its sphere of action beforehand, gradually to diminish its prerogatives, and to accustom the people to live without its protection. Nothing, however, is farther from the designs of the republicans of Europe than this ...
— American Institutions and Their Influence • Alexis de Tocqueville et al

... prophetic promise made to Abraham. At the time it was given Abraham had, by command, offered his only son Isaac, which offering, to all human appearance, would leave the old patriarch again childless; but his faith staggered not, for human incompetence does not circumscribe the bounds of Divine sufficience. The God who commanded Abraham to offer, recalled the command at a certain stage of the fulfilment, counting the faith of Abraham for righteousness. In Abraham's faith Isaac was really ...
— The Lost Ten Tribes, and 1882 • Joseph Wild

... by the splendor of her virtues and her learning, than by the glory of her royal birth. In the variety of her commendable qualities, I am less perplexed to find matter for the highest panegyric than to circumscribe that panegyric within just bounds. Yet I shall mention nothing respecting her but what has come under ...
— Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth • Lucy Aikin

... offence to Hamilton. With an irrational stubbornness, that may well astound us when we think of the noble genius that he thus wished to confine to paltry personal duties, he persisted that Burke should bind himself to his service for life, and to the exclusion of other interests. "To circumscribe my hopes," cried Burke, "to give up even the possibility of liberty, to annihilate myself for ever!" He threw up the pension, which he had held for two years, and declined all further connection with Hamilton, whom he roundly described as an ...
— Burke • John Morley

... courage to renew the battle which their fathers began, so that truth and justice and mercy and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of ...
— Abraham Lincoln, A History, Volume 2 • John George Nicolay and John Hay

... religion; of her determination to reduce them to absolute slavery; of the preliminary measures she had already taken by erecting forts upon many of the great rivers of their neighborhood; of the ulterior intentions she thus announced to circumscribe their pastoral lands, until they would all be obliged to renounce their flocks, and to collect in towns like Sarepta, there to pursue mechanical and servile 5 trades of shoemaker, tailor, and weaver, such as the free-born Tartar had always disdained. "Then ...
— De Quincey's Revolt of the Tartars • Thomas De Quincey

... and reappears Outside the window, leaning in, Branches of wisteria Circumscribe a ...
— Poems • T. S. [Thomas Stearns] Eliot

... 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 them, in some degree, ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume VIII. • Guy de Maupassant



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



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