Definition of circumspect in US English:



  • Wary and unwilling to take risks.

    ‘the officials were very circumspect in their statements’
    • ‘While he proclaims himself content with Perth's relaxed way of life, he's circumspect when asked about his career intentions.’
    • ‘Regular contributors are more news-sensitive and circumspect.’
    • ‘The difference between us is that you write like a bombastic lecturer and not like a prudent and circumspect lawyer.’
    • ‘They were circumspect, typically observing the dog from a distance.’
    • ‘We've yet to pick our candidate, so I've got to be circumspect, but we certainly need a charismatic candidate.’
    • ‘People are more circumspect about claiming that new technologies will revolutionize the world.’
    • ‘It would be absurd to compare that Mediterranean passion for music with our own more circumspect attachment to the arts.’
    • ‘Teenagers led pretty circumspect lives in those days, with far less freedom than their counterparts today.’
    • ‘He spoke earlier this morning and he was very circumspect about the capabilities of Mother Nature.’
    • ‘It is our duty to an injured ally to offer a circumspect response.’
    • ‘So you'd think people might be a little bit more circumspect, especially on that stretch of footpath.’
    • ‘He may have taken this risk consciously; we might wish to be more circumspect.’
    • ‘I may have to review that, and become much more circumspect.’
    • ‘Investor are now much more circumspect and vigilant, lest more wool is pulled over their eyes by yet another old goat.’
    • ‘They may be more circumspect about public encouragement these days but they continue to sponsor and facilitate his freelance crusade.’
    • ‘With a trial looming, both media and defendants are usually circumspect about what they say for fear of prejudicing the outcome.’
    • ‘Alcohol and anger do not create new beliefs; they loosen the tongue on issues the person is normally more circumspect about.’
    • ‘On theology they enjoy precedence over politicians; on politics they should be circumspect.’
    • ‘Its response: people should trust the police not to prosecute and the government to be circumspect.’
    • ‘I would expect that, when an activity is under threat, some attempt would be made by its supporters to be considerate and circumspect.’
    cautious, wary, careful, chary, guarded, on one's guard
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Latin circumspectus, from circumspicere ‘look around’, from circum ‘around, about’ + specere ‘look’.