Definition of circumnavigate in English:



  • 1 Sail or travel all the way around (something, especially the world):

    ‘he undertook to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days or less’
    • ‘Frostbite and massive weight loss were not enough to dampen the spirits of Tim Sander, who took part in the first English expedition to successfully circumnavigate Norway.’
    • ‘From 1577 to 1580, Drake circumnavigated the world.’
    • ‘Another nuclear submarine, the Triton, circumnavigated the world in 84 days while submerged, a record that still stands.’
    • ‘The Challenge is a prestigious yacht race, westerly circumnavigating the world against the prevailing winds and tides.’
    • ‘The remarkable Macarthur describes how she became the fastest yachtswoman to circumnavigate the world.’
    • ‘He is setting sail again to circumnavigate the globe, with all the obvious risks and dangers that entails.’
    • ‘I've been fascinated with sailing ships ever since a childhood visit to the reconstructed Golden Hinde of Sir Francis Drake, which circumnavigated the world.’
    • ‘In 1519 Magellan set sail from here to circumnavigate the globe.’
    • ‘Darwin lived for five years aboard the Beagle while circumnavigating the world.’
    • ‘Twelve teams will fight for this most prized of races as they circumnavigate the world - a feat which it is estimated will take until late June 2001.’
    • ‘He had been studying Eratosthenes' intriguing map, and was convinced that Phoenician sailors had circumnavigated the world.’
    • ‘On 27 May 1905, after half circumnavigating the world, the Russian fleet was surprised by the Japanese in the Straits of Tsushima between Korea and Japan.’
    • ‘I want to circumnavigate the world in 15 days and break the earlier record.’
    • ‘The Pharaoh sent his ships out to try and circumnavigate the world.’
    • ‘After circumnavigating the world, the INS Tarangini returns to base at Kochi next week.’
    • ‘Ellen MacArthur's bid to circumnavigate the globe in record time received a cruel setback when her mast was damaged.’
    • ‘Jules Verne's hero Phileas Fogg circumnavigated the world in 80 days.’
    • ‘She has many nautical achievements to her credit, including single-handedly circumnavigating Ireland.’
    • ‘They were due to board boats made available by the Circle Line, whose vessels normally circumnavigate Manhattan island packed with tourists.’
    • ‘To prove his ideas are worthy, Fogg wagers he can circumnavigate the world in 80 days.’
    1. 1.1 Go around or avoid (an obstacle):
      ‘he helped her to circumnavigate a frozen puddle’
      • ‘The path initially heads south west, but it immediately swings back round to neatly circumnavigate a boggy section.’
      • ‘As Twaddell digs into his briefcase to fish out some facts and figures about the business, he has to circumnavigate a couple of cereal boxes that he is about to show to clients.’
      • ‘I brave the square and dart to its centre, circumnavigating the unconscious drunk snoozing in the sun.’
      • ‘We've walked about 27,000 miles today, from Gard du Nord to the Latin Quarter, which if you look on the map, circumnavigates anything touristy.’
      • ‘This would involve our teacher circumnavigating the room at dangerously high speeds, screaming at the top of her lungs to Ride of the Valkyries.’
      • ‘Off I went, circumnavigating the championship golf course.’
      • ‘Many pubs think it's clever to hide the bar in the far corner of the establishment, meaning you have to circumnavigate an assault course of tables and chairs before you can get a drink.’
      • ‘They hesitated, deciding which way to go round him, as if he weren't a man at all but a natural occurrence to be circumnavigated.’
      • ‘Tourists were unlikely to be wooed away from the sightseeing Meccas of Sydney and Queensland for the sake of circumnavigating a renovated caravan park in a Crazy Copter.’
      • ‘From hesitantly crawling 3 weeks ago, she can now circumnavigate the house in 2 minutes flat.’
      • ‘Although some bands and artists have managed to circumnavigate the system and become successful, we have never really seen this phenomenon since the mid-Seventies.’
      • ‘If it's been a couple of weeks since Colin circumnavigated the block, he'll buy five or six CDs.’
      • ‘I got into a furious argument with my good French pal as we circumnavigated the world's largest roundabout, the Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain.’
      • ‘To reach the other door, leading to the library, he would have to circumnavigate the desk.’
      • ‘Realising that I'd circumnavigated my way around all of the exhibits, there was only one hurdle left to conquer.’
      journey, tour, take a trip, go on a trip, voyage, go on an expedition, go on an excursion, go sightseeing, globetrot, backpack
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Avoid dealing with (something difficult or unpleasant):
      ‘they circumnavigated the issue’
      • ‘Mr Ward tried to circumnavigate the difficulty, but had at last to promise to supply the information desired.’
      • ‘I have a cunning plan to circumnavigate this problem.’
      • ‘Schiller, of course, circumnavigated this difficulty by simply inventing a meeting.’
      • ‘If revenue factors determine that there can't be a break in the international calendar then a way to circumnavigate that problem would be to follow football's lead.’
      • ‘The authors have, however, discreetly circumnavigated the problem described in Snowden's statement.’
      • ‘There is a way to circumnavigate this problem and root (or jailbreak) the device in order to load any app (or APK) you would like to, but this method is for seasoned tinkerers only.’
      • ‘While the first three films found fair to ingenious methods of circumnavigating this problem, the fourth is so unconcerned with feasibility that it resorts to woefully convenient schemes for recording the poltergeist's antics.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin circumnavigare to sail round + -ate.