circle

noun, often attributive
cir·​cle | \ ˈsər-kəl How to pronounce circle (audio) \

Definition of circle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : ring, halo
b : a closed plane (see plane entry 6 sense 2b) curve every point of which is equidistant (see equidistant sense 1) from a fixed point within the curve
c : the plane surface bounded by such a curve
2 archaic : the orbit of a celestial body
3 : something in the form of a circle or section of a circle: such as
a : diadem
b : an instrument of astronomical observation the graduated (see graduated sense 2a) limb of which consists of an entire circle
c : a balcony or tier of seats in a theater
d : a circle formed on the surface of a sphere by the intersection of a plane that passes through it circle of latitude
e : rotary sense 2 Traffic slowed down around the circle.
4 : an area of action or influence : realm within the circle of probability
5a : cycle, round the wheel has come full circle
b : fallacious reasoning in which something to be demonstrated is covertly assumed
6 : a group of persons sharing a common interest or revolving about a common center the sewing circle of her church family circle the gossip of court circles political, social, and literary circles
7 : a territorial or administrative division or district The province is divided into nine circles.
8 : a curving side street lived on Kimberly Circle
9 : a circular course or path The children ran in circles around the tree. The conversation kept going in circles, and nothing got accomplished.

circle

verb
circled; circling\ ˈsər-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce circling (audio) \

Definition of circle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to enclose in or as if in a circle The teacher circled the misspelled words.
2 : to move or revolve around satellites circling the earth

intransitive verb

1a : to move in or as if in a circle The airplane circled around over the airport.
b : circulate thy name shall circle round the gaping throng— Lord Byron
c : to circle around before making an attack sharks circling in the water
2 : to describe or extend in a circle the lighthouse sent out its slow steady circling beam— R. O. Bowen

Illustration of circle

Illustration of circle

Noun

circle 1b: AB diameter; C center; CD, CA, CB radii; EKF arc on chord EF; EFKL (area) segment on chord EF; ACD (area) sector; GH secant; TPM tangent at point P; EKFBPDA circumference

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from circle

Verb

circler \ ˈsər-​k(ə-​)lər How to pronounce circler (audio) \ noun

Examples of circle in a Sentence

Noun

She drew a circle around the correct answer. We formed a circle around the campfire. He looked old and tired, with dark circles under his eyes. She has a large circle of friends. She is well-known in banking circles.

Verb

He circled his arms around his wife's waist. His arms circled around his wife's waist. She circled the correct answer. The pilot circled the airport before landing. The halfback circled to the left.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The first thing to know: If your dark circles are caused by pigment or by vascular issues, filler isn’t going to magically erase them. April Long, Town & Country, "Yes, You Can Get Filler for Your Under Eye Area—But Do You Need It?," 9 May 2019 Her circle included power couple Jessica and Ben Mulroney, the former a fashion adviser to Justin Trudeau's wife and the latter the son of a former PM himself. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "20 Facts About Meghan Markle's Life Before She Met Prince Harry," 15 Apr. 2019 Advertising In Syria, Assad and his inner circle have kept their lock on power and managed to survive eight bloody years of chaos. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Syria’s Assad: Last man standing amid new Arab uprisings," 13 Apr. 2019 One of my favorite things to do in new places is reach out to people in my social media circles and bring online relationships to life. Carly Benson, SELF, "7 Important Tips for Traveling While Sober and Having an Even Better Time," 14 Feb. 2019 Savage would have been better off pointing the finger within his own circle before coming for black voters. Ernest Owens, Vox, "What it’s like to be black and gay watching the Kevin Hart controversy unfold.," 7 Jan. 2019 One way Facebook responded to increasing public pressure was to shake up its inner circle of top executives, which had remained largely unchanged for the better part of a decade. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Facebook," 26 Dec. 2018 Those sanctions included the wife of President, Cillia Adela Flores de Maduro, as well as three other current or former officials of his inner circle. Ben Evansky, Fox News, "Nikki Haley lends support to Venezuelans protesting Maduro at UN," 28 Sep. 2018 Soccer isn’t seeing a changing of the guard, just a broadening of its elite circle. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "After World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi may lose best player tags," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The probe spent four years circling the planet before NASA intentionally crashed the vehicle into Mercury’s surface. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Two spacecraft are embarking on a seven-year journey to decode Mercury’s mysteries," 19 Oct. 2018 Foreign competitors have already started circling Commerzbank, the strongest and simplest to absorb of the two. Patricia Kowsmann, WSJ, "Foreign Banks Circle as Deutsche Bank-Commerzbank Deal Collapses," 25 Apr. 2019 Larger, oblong parts like cylinder heads often have a specific sequence for proper tightening, generally starting near the middle and circling around. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How to Use a Torque Wrench to Keep Your Car from Flying Apart," 26 Feb. 2019 Just circling back on the whole 'connecting' thing. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The First Text Nick Jonas Ever Sent Priyanka Chopra Was Hilariously Formal," 30 Oct. 2018 Reports have been circling for a few weeks now that Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner revealed how the show ends to her fiancé, Joe Jonas. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sophie Turner Reveals How Joe Jonas Found Out the Ending of Game of Thrones," 2 Apr. 2019 Some Orthodox traditions have celebrants exit the church, then circle it three times before re-entering. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "What Is Holy Saturday, the Day Before Easter, and Why Do We Celebrate It?," 1 Mar. 2019 Warlight, Divisadero, The English Patient, and Ondaatje’s Prix Médici-winning Anil’s Ghost all circle around war and the challenge of remembering and recovering from war. Andrew Lanham, The New Republic, "Michael Ondaatje’s Haunting Pasts," 8 June 2018 Walkers circled the shops three times, for approximately 1.5 miles. Dennis Hohenberger, Courant Community, "Walkers Support Mental Health Services," 21 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of circle

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for circle

Noun and Verb

Middle English cercle, from Anglo-French, from Latin circulus, diminutive of circus circle, circus, from or akin to Greek krikos, kirkos ring; akin to Old English hring ring — more at ring

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Learn More about circle

Statistics for circle

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for circle

The first known use of circle was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for circle

circle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of circle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a perfectly round shape : a line that is curved so that its ends meet and every point on the line is the same distance from the center
: a path that goes around a central point
: an arrangement of people or things that forms a circle

circle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of circle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form a circle around (something)
: to draw a circle around (something)
: to move or go around (someone or something) in a circle

circle

noun
cir·​cle | \ ˈsər-kəl How to pronounce circle (audio) \

Kids Definition of circle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a line that is curved so that its ends meet and every point on the line is the same distance from the center
2 : something in the form of a circle or part of a circle We gathered in a circle around the fireplace.
3 : cycle entry 1 sense 2, round The wheel has come full circle.
4 : a group of people sharing a common interest a reading circle a circle of friends

circle

verb
circled; circling

Kids Definition of circle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to form or draw a circle around Circle the correct answers.
2 : to move or revolve around Satellites circle the earth.
3 : to move in or as if in a circle Vultures circled overhead.

circle

noun
cir·​cle | \ ˈsər-kəl How to pronounce circle (audio) \

Medical Definition of circle

1a : a closed plane curve every point of which is equidistant from a fixed point within the curve
b : the plane surface bounded by such a curve
2 : something (as an anatomical part) in the form of a circle or section of a circle an arterial circle — see circle of willis

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More from Merriam-Webster on circle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for circle

Spanish Central: Translation of circle

Nglish: Translation of circle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of circle for Arabic Speakers

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