Word of the Day

Friday, April 04, 2003


\SUR-kuhm-spekt\ , adjective;
Marked by attention to all circumstances and probable consequences; cautious; prudent.
When the evidence is plentiful and the theories well confirmed, we can be more confident of the historical scenarios we propose; when theories are weak or evidence scarce, we ought to be more circumspect.
-- Robert J. Richards, "You Can't Get There From Here", New York Times, February 27, 2000
One had the feeling, indeed, that he rather enjoyed being mysterious, for although he regularly granted interviews to scholars and journalists after leaving the State Department, he was always circumspect and often cryptic in what he said.
-- John Lewis Gaddis, "Dean Rusk's Personal Truce", New York Times, July 1, 1990
Sadie is the gracious one, as if being the elder requires that she be circumspect and observe the manners.
-- Vincent Canby, "A Visit With Two Indomitable Sisters,", New York Times, April 7, 1995
Circumspect comes from the past participle of Latin circumspicere, "to look around, to consider carefully," from circum-, "around" + specere, "to look." The noun form is circumspection.
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