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circumscribe
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circumscribe


I will not let their expectations circumscribe how I live my life.
  to restrict something within set limits; or draw a circle around or surround
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circumscribed circumscribe circumscribing circumscribes
Notes:
Word Mastery:  You may remember learning to circumscribe in geometry when you drew a circle around a square or triangle, so that each corner is part of the circle.
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Samples:
  • I will not let their expectations circumscribe how I live my life.
  • It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use in itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.
    Edgar Allan Poe  --  The Cask of Amontillado
  • We crawled into the bed, my freedom circumscribed some by the oxygen, but even so I could get on top of him and...
    John Green  --  The Fault in Our Stars
  • Circumscribed as my life was in so many ways, I had to look between the covers of books for news of the world that lay outside my own.
    Helen Keller  --  Story of My Life

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  • ...makes the Messiah take a great pair of compasses from the armoury of heaven to circumscribe His work?
    Voltaire  --  Candide
  • Above the ceaseless surface they stand—trees, cane, vines—rootless, severed from the earth, spectral above a scene of immense yet circumscribed desolation...
    William Faulkner  --  As I Lay Dying
  • Hemmed in, limited, circumscribed, he sees and feels no way of acting except to hate and kill that which he thinks is crushing him.
    Richard Wright  --  Native Son
  • The woman laughs as she says, "Tell me all of it."
    Dede looks at her watch as a polite reminder to the woman that the visit is circumscribed.
    Julia Alvarez  --  In the Time of the Butterflies
  • Wasn’t there some inexpressible meaning in the fact that my entire experience of Sophie and Nathan was circumscribed by a bed, from the moment—which now seemed centuries past—when I first heard them above me in the glorious circus of their lovemaking to the final tableau on that same bed, whose image would stay with me until dotage or my own death erased it from my mind?
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • To circumscribe contact.
    Dave Eggers  --  A Hologram for the King

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  • The time she’d had alone had been gravitationally circumscribed by when her attachments would pull her back.
    Alice Sebold  --  The Lovely Bones
  • Life was cheaper because it was circumscribed: that most expensive luxury, the kind of life that can be changed at any moment, was no longer his nor did he wish for it.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  War and Peace
  • He can’t afford to anger them unnecessarily or he’ll lose the support of his people, so his actions on our behalf have been severely circumscribed.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eragon
  • For others, though, there was no mistaking the reasons for their flight, the specific people who had driven them to flee, or even how their seemingly circumscribed personal stories fit into the broader political narratives of their countries and ethnic groups.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • It was strange because it was circumscribed, because it was concentrated on a single intention.
    T. H. White  --  The Once and Future King
  • This remarkable epoch is decidedly circumscribed and is beginning to be sufficiently distant from us to allow of our grasping the principal lines even at the present day.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • Dr. Flint left him no property, and his own means had become circumscribed, while a wife and children depended upon him for support.
    Harriet Jacobs  --  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • Who could imagine a life so circumscribed that it excluded honey?
    Susanna Kaysen  --  Girl Interrupted
  • Then it was evening, and he’d left the South Beach wood path to look at her home of worn cedar slats and across the fields to where she lived: fields circumscribed by tall cedar trees and lit by spindly moonlight.
    David Guterson  --  Snow Falling on Cedars
  • The narrator feels her figurative horizons are also circumscribed by what seem like local certainties: early pregnancy and an unsatisfactory marriage to a man who will probably die young.
    Thomas C. Foster  --  How to Read Literature Like a Professor
  • Here, with you, everything is circumscribed, here all is formulated and geometrical, while we have nothing but indeterminate equations!
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Brothers Karamazov
  • It contained neither secret passage nor trap-door, and unless where the door by which she had entered joined the main building, seemed to be circumscribed by the round exterior wall of the turret.
    Sir Walter Scott  --  Ivanhoe
  • She knew that they were waiting like wolves just outside the circumscribing light, but she had long spells of power to keep them in hungry subjection there.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Tess of the d’Urbervilles
  • She was now a thin, though rugged, women of twenty-seven, with ideas of life colored by her husband’s and fast hardening into narrower conceptions of pleasure and duty than had ever been hers in a thoroughly circumscribed youth.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  Sister Carrie
  • When the other travellers closed their eyes, which they did one by one—even the kitten curling itself up in the basket, weary of its too circumscribed play—the boy remained just as before.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Jude the Obscure
  • "Yes—I know," Selden assented curtly, turning back into the room, but only to stir about with restless steps in the circumscribed space between door and window.
    Edith Wharton  --  The House of Mirth
  • Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute With him the points of liberty, who made Thee what thou art, and formed the Powers of Heaven Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being?
    John Milton  --  Paradise Lost
  • For when I consider how short were the Lawes of antient times; and how they grew by degrees still longer; me thinks I see a contention between the Penners, and Pleaders of the Law; the former seeking to circumscribe the later; and the later to evade their circumscriptions; and that the Pleaders have got the Victory.
    Thomas Hobbes  --  Leviathan
  • Those writers could with greater ease have conveyed a heroe from one country to another, nay from one world to another, and have brought him back again, than a poor circumscribed modern can deliver him from a jail.
    Henry Fielding  --  Tom Jones
  • A heavy unbroken crust of cloud stretched across the sky, shutting out every speck of heaven; and a distant halo which hung over the town of Casterbridge was visible against the black concave, the luminosity appearing the brighter by its great contrast with the circumscribing darkness.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Far from the Madding Crowd
  • …corporal, inasmuch as complete mental intercourse between himself and the listener had not taken place since the consummation of puberty, indicated by catamenic hemorrhage, of the female issue of narrator and listener, 15 September 1903, there remained a period of 9 months and 1 day during which, in consequence of a preestablished natural comprehension in incomprehension between the consummated females (listener and issue), complete corporal liberty of action had been circumscribed.
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses
  • Incarcerated, withdrawn from the world, compelled by the highly circumscribed nature of this death house life to find solace or relief in his own thoughts, Clyde’s, like every other temperament similarly limited, was compelled to devote itself either to, the past, the present or the future.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  An American Tragedy
  • …the mountains of flowers that were heaped upon their altars; while underneath, the sun cast a square of light upon the ground, as though it had shone in upon them through a window; the scent that swept out over me from them was as rich, and as circumscribed in its range, as though I had been standing before the Lady-altar, and the flowers, themselves adorned also, held out each its little bunch of glittering stamens with an air of inattention, fine, radiating ’nerves’ in the flamboyant…
    Marcel Proust  --  Swann’s Way
  • Kate went first, leaning upon her brother’s arm, and talking with him and Mr Frank Cheeryble; and Mrs Nickleby and the elder gentleman followed at a short distance, the kindness of the good merchant, his interest in the welfare of Nicholas, and his admiration of Kate, so operating upon the good lady’s feelings, that the usual current of her speech was confined within very narrow and circumscribed limits.
    Charles Dickens  --  Nicholas Nickleby
  • When he heard the brisk challenge of the men-at-arms of the abbey, around the crenelated, circumscribing wall of Saint-Germain, he turned aside, took a path which presented itself between the abbey and the lazar-house of the bourg, and at the expiration of a few minutes found himself on the verge of the Pré-aux-Clercs.
    Victor Hugo  --  The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • It is, rather, a blessedly circumscribed imagination and an intuitive feeling that Life is Now.
    Richard Adams  --  Watership Down
  • There are others which have a more circumscribed though an equally operative influence within their spheres.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
  • Their effects, thus circumscribed, are still exceedingly great; and I trust I may be pardoned if I pause for a moment to survey them.
    Alexis de Toqueville  --  Democracy In America, Volume 2
  • The world (which is circumscribed by lofty impassable mountains) has been given into the hand of the high-born, and this Rajah they knew: he was of their own royal house.
    Joseph Conrad  --  Lord Jim
  • But as oceans are, after all, only great lakes, inasmuch as they are surrounded by land, so does it stand to reason, that this central sea is circumscribed by granite surroundings.
    Jules Verne  --  A Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • But her mother’s white, intense, respectable countenance, with its formal gaze, and its circumscribed smile, suggested a document signed and sealed; a thing of parchment, ink, and ruled lines.
    Henry James  --  The American
  • Like many gifted Jews, Naphta was by instinct both a revolutionary and an aristocrat:—a socialist, yet obsessed with the dream of participating in a proud, elegant, exclusive, closely circumscribed world.
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • It is circumscribed, not because there is any very formidable prejudice against English locutions as such, [Pg139] but simply because recognizably English locutions, in a good many cases, do not fit into the American language.
    Henry L. Mencken  --  The American Language
  • At first, Max thought it might be Astaroth’s seal; however, instead of the Demon’s mark, this circle enclosed twined sheaves of grain that overlapped one another to circumscribe three smaller circles that might have been coins.
    Henry H. Neff  --  The Fiend And The Forge
  • Who’s to say that Shiva’s being so different, his circumscribed, self-contained inner world that asked nothing of others, didn’t come from that separation, or that my restlessness, my sense of being incomplete, didn’t originate at that moment?
    Abraham Verghese  --  Cutting for Stone
  • If the laws had made it as feeble and as circumscribed as it is in the Union, its influence would very soon become still more preponderant.
    Alexis de Toqueville  --  Democracy In America, Volume 1
  • "Friend hunter, or trapper," returned the naturalist, clearing his throat in some intellectual confusion at the vigorous attack of his companion, "your deductions, if admitted by the world, would sadly circumscribe the efforts of reason, and much abridge the boundaries of knowledge."
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Prairie
  • But here you felt yourself closer to the wide, deep ocean than on the shore of that North Sea which seemed always circumscribed; here you could draw a long breath as you looked out upon the even vastness; and the west wind, the dear soft salt wind of England, uplifted the heart and at the same time melted it to tenderness.
    W. Somerset Maugham  --  Of Human Bondage
  • Seth, who was easily touched, shed tears, and tried to recall, as he had done continually since his father’s death, all that he had heard of the possibility that a single moment of consciousness at the last might be a moment of pardon and reconcilement; for was it not written in the very psalm they were singing that the Divine dealings were not measured and circumscribed by time?
    George Eliot  --  Adam Bede
  • By thus circumscribing the plan, it will be possible to have an excellent body of well-trained militia, ready to take the field whenever the defense of the State shall require it.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
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Associated words [difficulty]:   circumscribe [7] , circumference [3] , circumspect [3] , circumvent [5] , circumlocution [7]
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