cir·​ca ˈsər-kə How to pronounce circa (audio)
: at approximately, in approximately, or of approximately
used especially with dates
born circa 1600

Examples of circa in a Sentence

He was born circa 1600.
Recent Examples on the Web American pestilence popped up periodically afterward, at least since the Barbary Plague was hushed up in Gilded Age San Francisco for fear of ruining the booming local produce industry, circa 1900. Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2020 Sunjammer writes progressive, entrancing music influenced by psychedelic rock circa 1965. Chris Conde,, 22 Apr. 2020 In an all-girls boarding school in Ghana circa 1986, several students are preparing to audition for a regional beauty pageant. Shane Harrison, ajc, 5 Mar. 2020 The first commercially viable lithium battery, circa 1985, had the capability to store more than twice as much energy per pound as did previous chemistry. Mark P. Mills, National Review, 5 Mar. 2020 Compare this to the reality of what was going on for Anne circa the early 1970s. Emma Dibdin, Town & Country, 15 Dec. 2019 The curator of the Pompidou exhibition, Didier Ottinger, has situated the paintings of Bacon in the context of a Reader’s Digest assortment of texts, a general-interest, user-friendly survey of Big Thoughts 101, circa 1985. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2019 Juggling has a long and glorious history dating back to ancient Egypt; there are hieroglyphics circa 1994 and 1781 BCE that historians consider to be the earliest historical record of juggling. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 8 Apr. 2020 Cuckoo clock, circa 1950 Q. My grandmother gave me this clock more than 30 years ago. oregonlive, 1 Feb. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'circa.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, from circum around — more at circum-

First Known Use

1861, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of circa was in 1861

Dictionary Entries Near circa

Cite this Entry

“Circa.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


cir·​ca ˈsər-kə How to pronounce circa (audio)
: in about
born circa 1600

More from Merriam-Webster on circa

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!