General English



  • The sum of all that is to be or has been invested in and delivered by the performance of an activity or project. In project planning, the scope is usually documented (i.e., the scope document), but it may be verbally or otherwise communicated and relied upon. Generally limited to that which is agreed to by the stakeholders in an activity or project (i.e., if not agreed to, it is "out of scope"). In contracting and procurement practice, includes all that an enterprise is contractually committed to perform or deliver.


  • An abbreviation or suffix denoting an instrument utilized for viewing. For example, microscope, radarscope, or telescope.
  • A range of magnitude, function, motion, capabilities, thoroughness, or the like. For example, the scope of a computer application, or that of a spot check.

Information & Library Science

  • noun the area covered by an activity or piece of work


  • noun
    (written as SCOPE)
    a UK organisation that offers support and services to people with cerebral palsy
  • suffix
    (written as -scope)
    referring to an instrument for examining by sight


  • noun a clumsy, inept and/or foolish person. A synonym for spanner, spack, etc. in use among adolescents and by Viz comic in 2001. The word was coined as a result of the UK Spastics Society changing its name to Scope.
  • verb to look at, examine. A vogue term among adolescents since the 1980s, it is heard on college campuses and is in use among the neo-Valley Girls featured in the 1995 US film, Clueless. In black speech ‘scope on (something/someone)’ is a common variant.

Origin & History of “scope”

Greek skopós meant ‘target’. As it passed via Italian scopo into English it evolved metaphorically to ‘aim kept in view, goal, purpose’ (‘the seventh council of Carthage and the Milevitane Council, which both tend to one end and scope, that there should be no appellations made out of Africa’, Nicholas Harpsfield, The Pretended Divorce between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon 1555), but the further step to ‘range’ seems to be an English development. The Greek word came from the base *skop- ‘look, observe’, which also produced -skopos ‘looking’ (ultimate source of English bishop, which etymologically denotes ‘overseer’) and -skópion ‘instrument for observing’ (which lies behind English microscope, telescope, etc). Sceptic comes from a variant of the same base.