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Borrowed from Latin circumnāvigātus, perfect passive participle of circumnāvigō (sail round something, circumnavigate), from circum (about, around) + nāvigō (sail, navigate), from nāvis (ship) + agō (do). Surface analysis: circum- +‎ navigate.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌsə.kəmˈnæv.ɪ.ɡeɪt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌsɝ.kəmˈnæv.ɪ.ɡeɪt/
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circumnavigate (third-person singular simple present circumnavigates, present participle circumnavigating, simple past and past participle circumnavigated)

  1. (transitive) To travel completely around somewhere or something, especially by sail.
    We circumnavigated the Mediterranean.
  2. (transitive) To circumvent or bypass.
    • 2006, July 9, Magic month of memories[1]:
      Rebel of the tournament: Saudi Arabia’s Malek Al Hawsawi, who circumnavigated Fifa’s ban on jewellery by keeping his ring in his mouth.
  3. (intransitive, sailing) To sail around the world.
    • 1992, Richard Henderson, Singlehanded Sailing[2], →ISBN, page 225:
      Patrick Childress, who solo circumnavigated on a Catalina 27 in 1982, stresses the value of eggs, which will keep at least six weeks if previously unrefrigerated and oiled with vegetable shortening.
    • 1997, Diana Jessie, The Cruising Woman's Advisor[3], →ISBN, page 30:
      Jack and Lura Francis, both fairly tall, circumnavigated on a Westsail 32.
    • 2004, March 10, “Edward Gorman”, in Van den Heede rewarded for perseverance[4]:
      Chay Blyth was the first when he circumnavigated in British Steel in 292 days in 1970 in a voyage that some predicted would end in certain death.



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