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scope /skəʊp/
noun
1 the extent of the area or subject matter that something deals with or to which it is relevant:
we widened the scope of our investigation | such questions go well beyond the scope of this book.
2 the opportunity or possibility to do or deal with something: the scope for major change is always limited by political realities.
archaic a purpose, end, or intention: Plato maintains religion to be the chief aim and scope of human life.
3
informal a telescope, microscope, or other device having a name ending in -scope: infrared night scopes.
4 Nautical the length of cable extended when a ship rides at anchor.
5 Linguistics & Logic the range of the effect of an operator such as a quantifier or conjunction.

verb [with object]
1 assess or investigate (something):
they'd scoped out their market.
• set the scope of (a projected undertaking):
it is important that a project is scoped correctly to ensure the budget can be accurately defined.
2 North American informal look at carefully; scan: they watched him scoping the room, looking for Michael.

ORIGIN
mid 16th century (in the sense ‘target for shooting at’): from Italian
scopo ‘aim’, from Greek skopos ‘target’, from skeptesthai ‘look out’. scope (sense 3 of the noun) is derived from -scope.

THESAURUS
scope /skəʊp/
noun
1
the scope of the investigation: EXTENT, range, breadth, width, reach, sweep, purview, span, horizon; area, sphere, field, realm, compass, orbit, ambit, terms/field of reference, jurisdiction; confine, limit; gamut.
2
the scope for change is limited by political realities: OPPORTUNITY, freedom, latitude, leeway, capacity, liberty, room (to maneuver), elbow room; possibility, chance.

-scope
combining form
denoting an instrument for observing, viewing, or examining:
microscope | telescope.

ORIGIN
from modern Latin -
scopium, from Greek skopein ‘look at’.

Last week's word

fling /flɪŋ/
verb (past and past participle flung /flʌŋ/) [with object and adverbial of direction]
throw or hurl forcefully: he picked up the debris and flung it away | figurative : I was flung into jail.
• move or push (something) suddenly or violently:
he flung back the bedclothes | [with object and complement] : Jennifer flung open a door.
• (fling oneself) throw oneself headlong:
he flung himself down at her feet with a laugh.
• (fling oneself into) wholeheartedly engage in or begin on (an enterprise):
the producer flung himself into an ugly battle with the studio.
• (fling something on/off) put on or take off clothes carelessly or rapidly.
• utter (words) forcefully:
the words were flung at her like an accusation.
• [no object, with adverbial of direction] go angrily or violently; rush:
he flung away to his study, slamming the door behind him.
noun
• a short period of enjoyment or wild behavior:
one final fling before a tranquil retirement.
• a short, spontaneous sexual relationship:
I had a fling with someone when I was at college.

THESAURUS
fling /flɪŋ/
verb
he flung the ax into the river: THROW, toss, sling, hurl, cast, pitch, lob; informal chuck, heave.
noun
1
a birthday fling: GOOD TIME, spree, bit of fun, night on the town; fun and games, revels, larks; informal binge.
2
she had a brief fling with him: AFFAIR, love affair, relationship, romance, affaire (de cœur), amour, flirtation, dalliance, liaison, entanglement, involvement, attachment.

ORIGIN
Middle English (in the sense ‘go violently’): perhaps related to Old Norse
flengja ‘flog’. The main verb sense is based on an earlier sense ‘reckless movement of the body’ and dates from the early 19th century.