Definition of circumvent in English:



  • 1 Find a way around (an obstacle)

    • ‘The team apparently circumvented locked gates and an alarm system, while the sculpture was in the process of being moved to another location.’
    • ‘Two alternative explanations for these different recapture rates are that many hatchlings may have headed away from the drift fence or may have circumvented the drift fence.’
    • ‘On the other hand, aerosolized particles that circumvent the blood-brain barrier might someday serve as delivery vehicles for drugs.’
    • ‘Heavily pregnant women have been forced to walk for miles to circumvent road blocks so as to receive treatment and deliver their babies.’
    • ‘He wanted to show me the ‘scenic’ route, 30 kilometers over back roads to circumvent mounds and checkpoints.’
    • ‘He has gained a few moves in his repertoire, allowing him to circumvent obstacles.’
    • ‘We broke the law on a weekly basis, when we circumvented the army's roadblocks in the roads.’
    • ‘They immediately blocked off the motorbike's attempt to circumvent the stop.’
    • ‘However, those inventive motorcyclists have managed to circumvent the obstacle.’
    • ‘After three miles, we circumvented the gate that kept the cars out.’
    avoid, get round, find a way round, evade, get past, bypass, sidestep, dodge
    overcome, outwit, outmanoeuvre, foil
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Overcome (a problem or difficulty), typically in a clever and surreptitious way.
      ‘I found it quite easy to circumvent security’
      • ‘Even if this is successful, Britain's media will undoubtedly seek to circumvent the ruling by fair means or foul.’
      • ‘Some bright spark probably thought that this would be a nice easy way to circumvent the usual obstacles in preventing freedom of speech.’
      • ‘So a lot of people were extremely happy when it was proven that it was possible to circumvent that barrier.’
      • ‘This is not a very realistic assumption but it makes it possible to circumvent the problem of determining the optimal amount of reserves.’
      • ‘There is also evidence that their introduction has contributed to an increase in the size of the black economy as both employees and employers seek to circumvent the payment.’
      • ‘But logic tells me that any measures like these simply create obstacles that will be circumvented by those who choose to break the law but discourage foreign investors.’
      • ‘But if history is any guide, the Treasury Department has an uphill fight ahead of it; counterfeiters have a knack for circumventing almost any obstacle put in their way.’
      • ‘I hope I can circumvent the barriers I may have previously erected around my heart.’
      • ‘To circumvent a possible problem of low data number, we pooled the observed and expected values for the three transposon families.’
      • ‘At the same time, the number of people seeking private treatment is growing, as couples seek to circumvent long hospital waiting lists.’
      • ‘However, the spokesman said retailers would seek to circumvent the rules.’
      • ‘Faced with these challenges from the state, non-state dissident actors must either adjust to the constraints put on Internet use or must seek ways to circumvent the barriers erected by states.’
      • ‘A common assumption made in the regulatory community to circumvent this problem is that one error offsets the other.’
      • ‘Clever strategists that we were, we decided to circumvent this problem or objection by presenting a symposium rather than submitting independent papers.’
      • ‘And in the past, counterfeiters have always managed to circumvent these obstacles.’
      • ‘To them, the law is simply a pretext for achieving desired results or (if not suited for that work) an obstacle to be circumvented for the same purpose.’
      • ‘Another benefit of a social ecological perspective is that it enables health practitioners to target and circumvent potential barriers to appropriate use of the healthcare system.’
      • ‘Where the mobility of goods is limited, the rationale for establishing subsidiaries has been to circumvent the distance barriers and use the owner-specific advantages of the firm to engage in production in more locations.’
      • ‘Inevitably one's thoughts turn to the matter of how, or even whether, the plans can be circumvented or stopped.’
      • ‘‘The Commission has found creative, community-based programs that begin to circumvent the barriers,’ the report stated.’
      avoid, get round, find a way round, evade, get past, bypass, sidestep, dodge
      overcome, outwit, outmanoeuvre, foil
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2archaic Deceive; outwit.
      ‘he's circumvented her with some of his stories’
      avoid, get round, find a way round, evade, get past, bypass, sidestep, dodge
      overcome, outwit, outmanoeuvre, foil
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Latin circumvent- skirted around from the verb circumvenire, from circum around + venire come.