• Every sort of difficulty is put in our way, and it is up to us to find means to jump over the rolling barrel and circumambiate the vagrant cow in our path.
  • ... fill the million flats that circumambiate the charismatic centre of the great city ...
  • They have "squandered" here, and if we scatter too, and circumambiate around, we will be apt to strike the trail again where they come together.

What is the definition of this word?

  • 1
    I can't find this in any on-line source. Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 15:55
  • 9
    Sounds like a conflation of circumambient (“Going or extending round; surrounding, encompassing, environing”, OED) and circumambulate (“To walk round about”, OED). Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 16:01
  • 2
    @Dan It’s not in the OED, M-W, or ODO. The first and third examples look like they are simply supposed to be circumambulate (which is indeed the same as amble, ambulance, etc.); the second one looks like a newly-derived verb from the adjectival circumambient. Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 16:03
  • 3
    Since it's apparently nowhere, where did this word come from? Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 17:11
  • 1
    Please add links to your examples. Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


The Latin verb


means to 'go around'. Circumambiate is not a commonly used verb in English, however the adjective circumambient meaning 'surrounding' does have enough use to appear in dictionaries.

The following text from http://www.hyponoesis.org/Essays/Essay/e033 gives an interesting comparison of 3 Latin verbs with circum- as their prefix where the English equivalents are adverbs:

This process of approximation to the target pattern proceeds circumstantially (Lat. circum-stare = stand around), circumambiently (Lat. circum-ambire = to go around) or circumferentially (Lat. cirum-ferre = carry around), that is from all sides, surrounding the target pattern, encircling it more and more, until having become united with the core of the target pattern

Note that of the 3 English adjectives in the passage above, circumstantiate exists as a verb of circumstantial.

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