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[en-vahy-ruh nz, -vahy-ernz, en-ver-uh nz, -vahy-ernz] /ɛnˈvaɪ rənz, -ˈvaɪ ərnz, ˈɛn vər ənz, -vaɪ ərnz/
plural noun
the surrounding parts or districts, as of a city; outskirts; suburbs.
surrounding objects; surroundings; environment.
an area or space close by; vicinity.
Origin of environs
1655-65; < French (plural); replacing Middle English environ < Old French, noun use of environ around; see environ


[en-vahy-ruh n, -vahy-ern] /ɛnˈvaɪ rən, -ˈvaɪ ərn/
verb (used with object)
to form a circle or ring round; surround; envelop:
a house environed by pleasant grounds; to be environed by bad influences.
1300-50; Middle English envirounen < Old French environner, derivative of environ around (en en-1 + viron a circle; vir(er) to turn, veer1 + -on noun suffix)
Related forms
unenvironed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for environs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The paving of the streets and environs was becoming a problem of national importance when the construction of the railway began.

    The Argentine Republic Pierre Denis
  • Now, there are dozens of catacombs; the environs of Rome are honeycombed with them.

  • Another city adjoins it called Altona, the park of which and the environs are the favourite Sunday lounge of the Hamburgers.

    Letters of George Borrow George Borrow
  • Perhaps he had risen early, and had gone on some excursion in the environs.

    Fruitfulness Emile Zola
  • I availed myself of this time to look about the town and its environs.

British Dictionary definitions for environs


plural noun
a surrounding area or region, esp the suburbs or outskirts of a town or city; vicinity


(transitive) to encircle or surround
Word Origin
C14: from Old French environner to surround, from environ around, from en-1 + viron a circle, from virer to turn, veer1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for environs

"outskirts," 1660s, from French environs, plural of Old French environ "compass, circuit," from environ (adv.) "around, round about" (see environ).



late 14c. (implied in environing), "to surround," from Old French environer "to surround, enclose, encircle," from environ "round about," from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + viron "circle, circuit," from virer "to turn" (see veer). Related: Environed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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