Simple Definition of circus
: a traveling show that is often performed in a tent and that typically includes trained animals, clowns, acrobats, etc.
: a situation or event that is very busy, lively, and confusing and that attracts a lot of attention
: a circular area where several streets meet
Full Definition of circus
1 a : a large arena enclosed by tiers of seats on three or all four sides and used especially for sports or spectacles (as athletic contests, exhibitions of horsemanship, or in ancient times chariot racing) b : a public spectacle
2 a : an arena often covered by a tent and used for variety shows usually including feats of physical skill, wild animal acts, and performances by clowns b : a circus performance c : the physical plant, livestock, and personnel of such a circus d : something suggestive of a circus (as in frenzied activity, sensationalism, theatricality, or razzle-dazzle) <a media circus>
Examples of circus in a sentence
He worked for a small circus.
We're going to the circus.
Origin of circus
Middle English, from Latin, circle, circus — more at circle
First Known Use: 14th century
CIRCUS Defined for Kids
Definition of circus for Students
: a traveling show that often takes place under a tent and that usually includes acts performed by acrobats, clowns, and trained animals
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up circus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).