The term “encompass” comes from the Old French word “encompenser,” which means “to surround” or “to encircle.” This is derived from the prefix “en-” meaning “in” or “within” and the Old French word “compasser,” meaning “to measure” or “to pace out.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*ped-” means “foot” or “step.”

2. Latin

The Latin word “compassus,” meaning “a measure” or “a circle,” contributed to the Old French term “compasser,” meaning “to measure” or “to encircle.”

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

The Old French term “encompenser” combined “en-” (in) with “compasser” (to measure or encircle), meaning “to surround” or “to encircle.”

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

The Old French “encompenser” was adopted into Middle English as “encompassen,” meaning “to surround” or “to include comprehensively.”

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

The term “encompass” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, retaining the meaning of “to surround,” “to include,” or “to contain comprehensively.”

Phonetic Evolution

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

Usage Examples

  • “Encompass is often used to describe the act of surrounding or including something comprehensively.”
  • “Another example of ‘encompass’ in a sentence is ‘The project will encompass several different areas of research.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “encompass” was significantly influenced by its use in describing physical surroundings, as well as more abstract concepts of inclusion and comprehensiveness. It has been used in various contexts, including geography, literature, and discussions of scope and extent.

The word “encompass” reflects the concept of surrounding or including comprehensively, emphasizing the importance of completeness and thoroughness in various contexts. It underscores the role of inclusion and the ability to cover all relevant aspects or elements in a given situation or discussion.