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[skohp] /skoʊp/
extent or range of view, outlook, application, operation, effectiveness, etc.:
an investigation of wide scope.
space for movement or activity; opportunity for operation:
to give one's fancy full scope.
extent in space; a tract or area.
a scope of cable.
aim or purpose.
Linguistics, Logic. the range of words or elements of an expression over which a modifier or operator has control:
In “old men and women,” “old” may either take “men and women” or just “men” in its scope.
(used as a short form of microscope, oscilloscope, periscope, radarscope, riflescope, telescopic sight, etc.)
verb (used with object), scoped, scoping.
Slang. to look at, read, or investigate, as in order to evaluate or appreciate.
Verb phrases
scope out, Slang.
  1. to look at or over; examine; check out:
    a rock musician scoping out the audience before going on stage.
  2. to master; figure out:
    By the time we'd scoped out the problem, it was too late.
1525-35; < Italian scopo < Greek skopós aim, mark to shoot at; akin to skopeîn to look at (see -scope)
Related forms
scopeless, adjective
1. See range. 2. margin, room, liberty.


a combining form meaning “instrument for viewing,” used in the formation of compound words:
Compare -scopy.
< New Latin -scopium < Greek -skopion, -skopeion, equivalent to skop(eîn) to look at (akin to sképtesthai to look, view carefully; cf. skeptic) + -ion, -eion noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scope
  • To get a sense of the scope of this problem, take the example of mental illness.
  • Right now the global capitalist system is vigorously expanding in both scope and intensity.
  • The meaning of that was beyond the scope of the study and could have many explanations.
  • Making dazzling and meticulous use of her historical scope, she has written a work at once majestic and gemlike.
  • One can think of the scope of intelligence as represented by an elastic band.
  • Exactly what role the atomic bomb played will always allow some scope for conjecture.
  • In an instant, the scope of the dietary disaster that has since overtaken us is revealed.
  • All these issues, and many more besides, give almost infinite scope for argument-and for vacillation and dithering.
  • The scope of the national government has expanded beyond imagination, but so too have the facilities for presidential management.
  • How many is unknown at this point, as is the scope of e-fraud.
British Dictionary definitions for scope


opportunity for exercising the faculties or abilities; capacity for action: plenty of scope for improvement
range of view, perception, or grasp; outlook
the area covered by an activity, topic, etc; range: the scope of his thesis was vast
(nautical) slack left in an anchor cable
(logic, linguistics) that part of an expression that is governed by a given operator: the scope of the negation in PV–(qr) is –(qr)
(informal) short for telescope, microscope, oscilloscope
(archaic) purpose or aim
verb (transitive)
(informal) to look at or examine carefully
See also scope out
Word Origin
C16: from Italian scopo goal, from Latin scopus, from Greek skopos target; related to Greek skopein to watch


combining form
indicating an instrument for observing, viewing, or detecting: microscope, stethoscope
Derived Forms
-scopic, combining_form:in_adjective
Word Origin
from New Latin -scopium, from Greek -skopion, from skopein to look at
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 scope

"extent," 1530s, "room to act," from Italian scopo "aim, purpose, object, thing aimed at, mark, target," from Latin scopus, from Greek skopos "aim, target, watcher," from PIE *spek- "to observe" (cf. Sanskrit spasati "sees;" Avestan spasyeiti "spies;" Greek skopein "behold, look, consider," skeptesthai "to look at;" Latin specere "to look at;" Old High German spehhon "to spy," German spähen "to spy"). Sense of "distance the mind can reach, extent of view" first recorded c.1600.

"instrument for viewing," 1872, abstracted from telescope, microscope, etc., from Greek skopein "to look" (see scope (n.1)). Earlier used as a shortening of horoscope (c.1600).


"to view," 1807, from the source of scope (n.2). Related: Scoped; scoping.


word-forming element indicating "an instrument for seeing," from Late Latin -scopium, from Greek -skopion, from skopein "to look at, examine" (see scope (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scope in Medicine

-scope suff.
An instrument for viewing or observing: bronchoscope.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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scope in Technology

Software Evaluation and Certification Programme Europe.
An ESPRIT project.

The scope of an identifier is the region of a program source within which it represents a certain thing. This usually extends from the place where it is declared to the end of the smallest enclosing block (begin/end or procedure/function body). An inner block may contain a redeclaration of the same identifier in which case the scope of the outer declaration does not include (is "shadowed" or "occluded" by) the scope of the inner.
See also activation record, dynamic scope, lexical scope.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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