circumference n

Fr. < L. circum, round, about + fer-re, to bear; loan translation of Gk. perifereia, rotundity, outer surface, periphery; see circle and circuit.

  1. Navigation; circuit; circular motion; journey in a circular pattern; going around in circles; [fig.] wandering; migration; flight of departure and returning.
  2. Horizon; periphery; the girth of the world; the circle of the earth's globe; the whole circular surface of the earth including the sea and the land.
  3. Zone; area; boundary; restriction; constraint; restraint; demarcation; delimitation; outer limit; the space included within a circle; [fig.] mortality; a lifetime; a succession of events; cycles of nature, mortality, and earth life.
  4. Eternity; the ultimate reality; the life beyond; the all-encompassing circle of existence.
  5. Edge of the sky; atmosphere which surrounds the earth; the sky as it encircles the globe; the cycles of air, wind, and clouds; the air currents which carry creatures in flight; the relationship of the earth to the sun.
  6. Influence; sphere of action; [fig.] periphrasis; circumlocution; metaphorical extensions; lines of poetry; text in relation to context; connections that go beyond words; words as symbols for aspects of existence; meanings that lie within the limits of words; [fig.] polysemy; semantic connotations that go beyond the core meaning of a word (OED founder Richard Trench explains that synonyms are circles “with the same centre and the same circumference”); [metaphor] experience; reality; enlightenment; intelligence; revelation; inspiration; wisdom.
  7. Perimeter; geometric line that bounds a circle; a single curved line that forms an encompassing boundary; the finite line that goes around in 360 degrees; the whole area enclosed by a circular line or spherical limit; the whole exterior surface of a round body; [fig.] experience; frontier; outlook.
  8. Finitude; reality; exact dimensions of life; irrefutable aspects of reality; indisputable facts of existence; [paradox] infinitude; countless lines, planes, degrees, arcs, angles, diameters, projections, intersections, and repetitions of circles from a finite point.
  9. Skull; round body; globe; spherical container.
  10. Border; margin; diameter; [fig.] arc of space; projection linking separate entities; line connecting a single being to an experience in a certain place; [metaphor] memory; music beyond words; communication beyond eloquence.
  11. Perspective; view; vista; ability to protract an infinite number of concentric circles from one specific point; [fig.] greater understanding; elevated awareness; broader view; expanded perception of life.
  12. Comprehension; understanding; [personification] wonderful companion; cause of respect, admiration, and amazement.
  13. Circumspection; discretion; cautiousness; secret realm; hidden core; inner vision; center of being; different way of perceiving.