The term “encircle” comes from the Old French word “encercler,” which means “to surround” or “to circle.” This is derived from the prefix “en-” meaning “in” or “within” and the Old French word “cercler,” meaning “to make a circle.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*sker-” means “to turn” or “to bend.”

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “circus” developed, meaning “circle.” This influenced the Old French term “cercler,” meaning “to make a circle.”

3. Old French (c. 9th to 14th century CE)

The Old French term “cercler” was combined with the prefix “en-” (in) to form “encercler,” meaning “to surround” or “to circle.”

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Old French “encercler” was adopted into Middle English as “encirclen,” meaning “to form a circle around” or “to surround.”

5. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “encircle” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, retaining the meaning of “to form a circle around” or “to surround.”

Phonetic Evolution

Over time, the pronunciation of “encircle” has remained relatively stable from Old French to Modern English.

Usage Examples

  • “Encircle is often used to describe the act of forming a circle around something.”
  • “Another example of ‘encircle’ in a sentence is ‘The troops moved to encircle the enemy camp.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “encircle” was significantly influenced by its use in describing physical actions of surrounding or enclosing something, often in a military or strategic context. It has also been used in various other contexts, including descriptions of natural formations and artistic expressions.

The word “encircle” reflects the concept of forming a boundary or enclosure in the shape of a circle, emphasizing the importance of completeness, protection, and strategic positioning in various contexts. It underscores the role of circular formations in creating defined and enclosed spaces.