circumference


circumference
circumference, perimeter, periphery, circuit, compass are comparable because all in their basic senses denote a continuous line enclosing an area or space. They differ, however, in the extent to which they retain this meaning and in the number and character of their acquired implications and connotations.
Precisely, circumference designates either the line that describes a circle or an ellipse or the length of such a line; in extended use it is applied to something felt as having a center (see CENTER)
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nature set from center to circumferenceMilton

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that mysterious intellectual magnetism that enlarges the circumference of his ego— Powys

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Perimeter is more comprehensive than circumference; it includes not only the line that bounds any circular figure or area, but also the broken line that encloses any polygon; moreover it may designate the whole outer boundary of a body, especially a more or less spherical body
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the perimeter of a hexagon

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the perimeter of the globe

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Periphery is sometimes interchangeable with perimeter but it is more frequently used in an extended sense. More often than any other word in this group it is referred to the actual edge or border or boundaries of something concrete
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the sections of an orange extend from the center to the periphery

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we had just time enough to explore the periphery (the encircling shore) of the island

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the periphery (the wall) of a blood vessel

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Occasionally it suggests limits which cannot be exceeded
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stimuli beyond the periphery of consciousness

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the fixed stars at the periphery of the universe were stationary— S. F. Mason

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Circuit has become so tied up with the idea of a journey round the periphery of something that the two ideas are fused
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the hour hand of a clock covers its circuit every twelve hours

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he also completed the great circuit of coast highways— Buchan

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On the other hand, compass usually refers to the area or space within an enclosing line or the ground that figuratively might be covered by the leg of a compass describing such a line
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within thy crown, whose compass is no bigger than thy head— Shak.

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another soldier . . . followed his trail, went on to make a wide compass, and got as far as Zuñi-De Voto

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Analogous words: *outline, contour

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Circumference — Cir*cum fer*ence, n. [L. circumferentia.] [1913 Webster] 1. The line that goes round or encompasses a circular figure; a periphery. Millon. [1913 Webster] 2. A circle; anything circular. [1913 Webster] His ponderous shield . . . Behind him cast.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • circumference — [sər kum′fər əns, sər kum′frəns] n. [ME < L circumferentia < circumferens, prp. of circumferre < circum, around + ferre, to carry, BEAR1] 1. the line bounding a circle, a rounded surface, or an area suggesting a circle: see CIRCLE 2. the …   English World dictionary

  • Circumference — Cir*cum fer*ence, v. t. To include in a circular space; to bound. [Obs.] Sir T. Browne. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • circumference — index ambit, border, contour (outline), margin (outside limit), outline (boundary), periphery, zone …   Law dictionary

  • circumference — (n.) late 14c., from L. circumferentia, neuter plural of circumferens (loan translation of Gk. periphereia periphery, the line round a circular body, lit. a carrying round ), prp. of circumferre to lead round, take round, from circum around (see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • circumference — [n] edge, perimeter ambit, border, boundary, bounds, circuit, compass, confines, extremity, fringe, girth, limits, lip, margin, outline, periphery, rim, verge; concept 484 Ant. inside, interior, middle …   New thesaurus

  • circumference — ► NOUN 1) the enclosing boundary of a circle. 2) the distance around something. DERIVATIVES circumferential adjective. ORIGIN Latin circumferentia, from circum around + ferre carry …   English terms dictionary

  • Circumference — When a circle s radius is 1 unit, its circumference is 2π units …   Wikipedia

  • circumference — noun VERB + CIRCUMFERENCE ▪ have ▪ calculate, measure ▪ to measure the circumference of a circle PREPOSITION ▪ in circumfe …   Collocations dictionary

  • circumference — [[t]sə(r)kʌ̱mfrəns[/t]] 1) N UNCOUNT The circumference of a circle, place, or round object is the distance around its edge. ...a scientist calculating the earth s circumference... The island is 3.5 km in circumference. 2) N UNCOUNT The… …   English dictionary


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