Can I use the word "encircled" to replace "ringed" in the sentence "the police ringed the bank with armed men". Can you suggest other words to replace it (but still has the same meaning.)


1 Answer 1


Indeed, "encircled" sounds better than "ringed" here, but both do have the same meaning in this context.

The other word that springs to my mind is "surrounded", which is probably the most natural one to use in a context of everyday speech. "Encircled" is perhaps the word I would use in slightly more formal writing.

  • 2 : to place or form a ring around : encircle police ringed the building (merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ring)
    – Kris
    Mar 28, 2018 at 9:34
  • @Kris "ringed" is indeed unambiguous. However, my understanding, which is somewhat backed up by the Oxford English (verb, sense 1, example sentences) is that "ringed" is common in the passive but rather rare as an active verb. Even in the active voice, it refers to continuing states of being ("darkness ringed her eyes", "a circle of pavement ringed the Jeep") rather than to motion ("the police formed a ring around the protesters"). This may be different in American English, I don't know. Mar 28, 2018 at 9:49

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