Verb > Circumvent

This word has Latin roots that mean “to come around.”

To circumvent something is to find a way around it: to avoid it, often in a smart or sneaky way.


Part of speech:
Verb, the transitive kind: “they circumvented the rules,” “let’s circumvent all this red tape.”

Other common forms:
circumvented, circumventing, circumvention

How to use it:
This word is more formal than synonyms like “dodge,” “avoid,” and “get around.”

Talk about people, businesses, nations and so on that circumvent laws, rules, orders, commands, sanctions, restrictions, limitations, requirements, or any standard processes or systems.

You can also circumvent people, like leaders, authorities, and lawmakers. And you can circumvent punishments and consequences, like fees, jail time, and justice.

As you can see, circumvention is most often a sneaky, lowdown move.

But on a happier, more morally upright note, you can also circumvent the critics and their criticisms, or circumvent bureaucracy or other types of gridlock, or circumvent a war, a tragedy, a loss of life, etc.

“He routinely credits Twitter for his political success, calling it a ‘tremendous platform’ that allows him to circumvent what he deems to be unfair media coverage and speak directly to his base of supporters.”
— Liam Stack, New York Times, 15 May 2019

“Singers, instrumentalists, and composers used music to circumvent ecclesiastical authority and to forge links with the world beyond convent walls.”
— Craig A. Monson, Disembodied Voices: Music and Culture in an Early Modern Italian Convent, 1995