environ

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

PIE word
*h₁én

The adverb is derived from Middle English enviroun (round about in a circle or ring; all around) [and other forms],[1] from Anglo-Norman enviroun, environ [and other forms], and Middle French enviroun, environ [and other forms], from Old French environ (around, surrounding; about, approximately, roughly) (modern French environ), from en- (prefix meaning ‘in; into’) + viron (circuit; circumference, compass; country round about) (though first attested later)[2] (from virer (to bear, turn, veer) (either from Latin gȳrō (to turn in a circle, rotate; to circle, revolve around) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gew- (to bend, curve; an arch, vault)), or from Latin vibrō (to hurl, launch; shake; to tremble, vibrate) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *weyb-, *weyp- (to shake; to tremble; to sway, swing; to rotate, turn, wind, wrap (around)))) + -on (augmentative suffix)).

The preposition is derived from Middle English enviroun (around the outside or perimeter of; all around; about or throughout the extent of),[3] which is from the adverb.[2]

Adverb[edit]

environ (not comparable) (obsolete)

  1. In the neighbourhood; around.
    Synonyms: round, round about
    • c. 1519 (date written), [John Rastell], A New Iuterlude [sic] and a Mery of the Nature of the .IIII. Element[s...]; reprinted as John S. Farmer, editor, The Nature of the Four Elements (The Tudor Facsimile Texts), London, Edinburgh: [] T. C. & E. C. Jack, [], 1908, →OCLC, signature Aij:
      Thaboũdant grace of the power deuyne / whiche doth illumyne yͤ world inuyron / Preſerue this audyẽce and cauſe them to inclyne / To charyte this is my petycyon
      The abundant grace of the power divine / which doth illumine the world environ / Preserve this audience and cause them to incline / To charity; this is my petition
    • 1600, [Torquato Tasso], “The Second Booke of Godfrey of Bulloigne”, in Edward Fairefax [i.e., Edward Fairfax], transl., Godfrey of Bulloigne, or The Recouerie of Ierusalem. [], London: [] Ar[nold] Hatfield, for I[saac] Iaggard and M[atthew] Lownes, →OCLC, stanza 80, page 35:
      Lord Godfreyes eie three times enuiron goes, / To vievv vvhat count'nance euerie vvarriour beares, []
  2. Almost, nearly.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English envirounen, enviroun (to surround in a circle or ring, or on the perimeter; to beset, besiege; to cover, enclose, envelop; to provide a setting or surrounding to; to move in a circle; to move around the perimeter; to go, move, or wander about (a place); to fill or pervade (a place); to run all the way through) [and other forms],[4] from Anglo-Norman envirouner [and other forms], Middle French environner, and Old French environner (to arrange in a circle; to circumnavigate, travel around; to traverse, wander around; to encircle, encompass, surround) [and other forms] (modern French environner), from environ (adverb) (see etymology 1)[5] + -er (suffix forming verbs).

Verb[edit]

environ (third-person singular simple present environs, present participle environing, simple past and past participle environed) (transitive)

  1. To encircle or surround (someone or something).
    Synonym: (obsolete) belay
    • c. 1588–1593 (date written), [William Shakespeare], The Most Lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus: [] (First Quarto), London: [] Iohn Danter, and are to be sold by Edward White & Thomas Millington, [], published 1594, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i]:
      For novv I ſtand as one vpon a rocke, / Inuirond vvith a vvildernes of ſea, / VVho markes the vvaxing tide, grovv vvaue by vvaue, / Expecting euer when ſome enuious ſurge, / VVill in his briniſh bovvels ſvvallovv him.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book III, Canto V”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, stanza 39, page 473:
      Into that foreſt farre they thence him led, / VVhere vvas their dvvelling, in a pleaſant glade, / VVith mountaines rovvnd about enuironed, / And mightie vvoodes, vvhich did the valley ſhade, []
    • c. 1610 (date written), John Denton, “Burgh Barony”, in R[ichard] S[aul] Ferguson, editor, An Accompt of the Most Considerable Estates and Families in the County of Cumberland, from the Conquest unto the Beginning of the Reign of K. James [the First], Kendal, Cumbria: T. Wilson, published 1887, →OCLC, page 76:
      There is another village called Finland, Fingland and Fennland, which is almost environned with a moss and fenny ground.
    • 1673, John Milton, “[Sonnet] XII. On the Same [Tetrachordon].”, in Poems, &c. upon Several Occasions, London: [] Tho[mas] Dring [], →OCLC, page 56:
      I did but prompt the age to quit their cloggs / By the knovvn rules of antient libertie, / When ſtrait a barbarous noiſe environs me / Of Ovvles and Cuckoes, Aſſes, Apes and Doggs.
    • 1785, William Cowper, “Book I. The Sofa.”, in The Task, a Poem, [], London: [] J[oseph] Johnson;  [], →OCLC, page 12:
      [W]ent I forth, and found, till then unknovvn, / A cottage, vvhither oft vve ſince repair: / 'Tis perch'd upon the green-hill top, but cloſe / Inviron'd vvith a ring of branching elms / That overhang the thatch, itſelf unſeen, / Peeps at the vale belovv; []
    • 1858 May 23, Theodore Parker, “[Prayer] XXX”, in Prayers, Boston, Mass.: Walker, Wise, and Company, published 1862, →OCLC, page 148:
      We bless thee for the material world, wherewith thou environest us beneath and about and overhead.
    • 1859 December 13, Charles Dickens, “The Mortals in the House”, in Charles Dickens, editor, The Haunted House. The Extra Christmas Number of All the Year Round [], volume II, London: [] C. Whiting, [], →OCLC, page 1, column 1:
      Under none of the accredited ghostly circumstances, and environed by none of the conventional ghostly surroundings, did I first make acquaintance with the house which is the subject of this Christmas piece.
    1. (often military) To encircle or surround (someone or something) so as to attack from all sides; to beset.
      Synonyms: beleaguer, besiege
    2. (heraldry, chiefly passive voice, obsolete) To encircle or surround (a heraldic element such as a charge or escutcheon (shield)).
      Synonyms: envelop, entwist, enwrap
      • 1874, John W[oody] Papworth, “1 ANNULET betw. or within … and in chief …”, in Alfred W. Morant, editor, An Alphabetical Dictionary of Coats of Arms Belonging to Families in Great Britain and Ireland; [], London: T. Richards, [], →OCLC, page 4, column 2:
        Az[ure], an annulet environing a barrulet, betw[een] two bars and in chief a cross patty fitchy or.
  2. To cover, enclose, or envelop (someone or something).
    Synonym: (obsolete) belay
  3. Followed by from: to hide or shield (someone or something).
  4. (chiefly passive voice) Of a person: to be positioned or stationed around (someone or something) to attend to or protect them.
    • 1609, Ammianus Marcellinus, “[The XXVI. Booke.] Chapter VIII. Whiles Valens is Farre Removed by Occasion of Warre against the Gothes, Procopius Putting Forward His Intended Businesse, is by Tumultuarie Acclamations Saluted Emperour.”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Roman Historie, [], London: [] Adam Jslip, →OCLC, page 293:
      [A]ll of them, upon an aſſociation made in the night, agreed to ſide vvith him, vvith aſſurance of ſafe conduct being gladly admitted unto them, environed he vvas vvith a multitude thronged together of vendible or ſale ſouldiors, []
    • 1675, Joshua Stopford, “Altars”, in Pagano-papismus: Or, An Exact Parallel Between Rome-pagan, and Rome-Christian, in Their Doctrines and Ceremonies, London: [] A. Maxwell, for R. Clavel, [], →OCLC, page 75:
      O moſt high God, who keepeſt all things whether high or low, and environeſt every creature; ſancti†fie and bleſs† theſe Creatures of lime and ſand; Through Chriſt our Lord, Amen.
      The † symbol indicates the point at which the bishop makes the sign of the cross.
    • 1759, David Hume, “[Elizabeth I.] Chapter III.”, in The History of England, under the House of Tudor. [], volume II, London: [] A[ndrew] Millar, [], →OCLC, page 543:
      [T]he admiral in particular, being dangerouſly vvounded, and environed by the guards of the King, on vvhose protection he ſeemed entirely to rely, had no means of eſcape, and might ſurely, before his death, have been convicted of the crimes imputed to him: []
  5. (figuratively) Of a situation or state of affairs, especially danger or trouble: to happen to and affect (someone or something).
  6. (obsolete)
    1. To amount to or encompass (a space).
      • 1613, Samuel Purchas, “[Asia.] Of the Philippina’s.”, in Purchas His Pilgrimage. Or Relations of the World and the Religions Observed in All Ages and Places Discouered, from the Creation vnto this Present. [], 2nd edition, London: [] William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, [], published 1614, →OCLC, book V (Of the East-Indies, and of the Seas and Ilands about Asia, with Their Religions), page 535:
        Tendaia (vvhich firſt obtained the Philippine title) enuironeth a hundred and ſixtie leagues, from tvvelue to fifteene degrees of latitude: the people Idolatrous, abounding vvith Pepper, Ginger, Gold, and Mynes.
    2. To travel completely around (a place or thing); to circumnavigate.
Conjugation[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Late Middle English invyroun, Middle English enuyroun, enuyrown, from Anglo-Norman enviroun, environ, envirun, and Middle French environ (circumference; surroundings; (in the plural) boundaries, frontiers) (chiefly in the plural) (modern French environ), a noun use of Old French environ (adverb): see etymology 1.[6]

Noun[edit]

environ (plural environs)

  1. (archaic except in the plural, formal, also figuratively) A surrounding area or place (especially of an urban settlement); an environment.
    Naples and its environs
    • 1654 August 27 (Gregorian calendar), John Evelyn, “[Diary entry for 17 August 1654]”, in William Bray, editor, Memoirs, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn, [], 2nd edition, volume I, London: Henry Colburn, []; and sold by John and Arthur Arch, [], published 1819, →OCLC, page 286:
      I got up to ye Towre, whence we had a prospect towards Duresme, and could see Rippon, part of Lancashire, the famous and fatal Marston Moore, ye Spaws of Knaresborough, and all the environs of that admirable country.
    • 1762, [Samuel] Foote, The Orators. [], Dublin: [] Thomas Richey, [], →OCLC, Act I, pages 20–21:
      [N]ovv, if a hamlet containing thirty houſes, vvith perhaps an environ of an equal number, vvhere labour and the fruits of the earth are the only ſources of vvealth, can ſupport one attorney in this rural magnificence; vvhat an infinite number of lavvyers can a commercial capital ſuſtain?
    • 1811, [Jane Austen], chapter XIX, in Sense and Sensibility [], volume I, London: [] C[harles] Roworth, [], and published by T[homas] Egerton, [], →OCLC, page 235:
      His spirits, during the last two or three days, though still very unequal, were greatly improved—he grew more and more partial to the house and environs—never spoke of going away without a sigh— []
    • 1823 April 14, Lord Byron, “Letter DXIV. To the Earl of B**.”, in Thomas Moore, editor, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: With Notices of His Life, [], volume II, London: John Murray, [], published 1830, →OCLC, page 640:
      I am truly sorry that I cannot accompany you in your ride this morning, owing to a violent pain in my face, arising from a wart to which I by medical advice applied a caustic. Whether I put too much, I do not know, but the consequence is, that not only I have been put to some pain, but the peccant part and its immediate environ are as black as if the printer's devil had marked me for an author.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ envīrǒun, adv.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 † environ, adv. and prep.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021.
  3. ^ envīrǒun, prep.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  4. ^ envīrǒunen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  5. ^ environ, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2022; “environ, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  6. ^ environ, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.

Further reading[edit]

French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Inherited from Old French environ (around), from en (in) +‎ viron (a turn), from virer (to turn, veer), whence also French virer.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adverb[edit]

environ

  1. about, close to, around
    un salaire annuel d’environ 7 millions d’euros
    an annual salary of around 7 million euros
    Il y a dans ce coffre-fort environ trois mille francs.
    There is about three thousand francs in the safe.
    Il mesure environ un mètre.
    It measures close to a meter.

Noun[edit]

environ m (plural environs)

  1. (especially in plural) a surrounding area

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

Middle French[edit]

Adverb[edit]

environ

  1. about; around; roughly
  2. around
    • 1488, Jean Dupré, Lancelot du Lac, page 23:
      il regarda environ soy
      he look around him

Occitan[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Adverb[edit]

environ

  1. about, around, approximately

Old French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Univerbation of en viron (in circle), the latter word ultimately from the verb virer (to turn).

Adverb[edit]

environ

  1. around
    1. surrounding
    2. about, roughly, approximately

References[edit]