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

Vivid images including a circle engulfed by darkness and filled with colorful triangles filled his mind. Author: Holbrook Mohr, Anchorage Daily News, "State authorities concerned by street drug in some CBD vapes," 17 Sep. 2019 That classical picture of a black hole is a circle with a dot at the center. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Fresh analysis of LIGO data supports “no hair” theorem for black holes," 17 Sep. 2019 The Bruins surrendered the lead with 6:59 left, Vladar unable to stop a power-play one-timer from the lower left circle by pinching defenseman Connor Carrick. BostonGlobe.com, "NEWARK — The Devils dropped the Bruins, 4-3 in overtime, in the preseason opener for both teams.," 17 Sep. 2019 Vivid images including a circle engulfed by darkness and filled with colorful triangles filled his mind. Holbrook Mohr, chicagotribune.com, "Vapes spiked with illegal drugs show dark side of CBD craze," 16 Sep. 2019 For years, discussion of climate change was relegated to scientific and environmental circles. The Christian Science Monitor, "the viability of centrism in U.S. politics," 16 Sep. 2019 Williams is a regular volunteer at Rowan Elementary School, providing literacy assessments and tutoring, as well as assisting with community-building classroom circles there. Lallia Allali, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Someone San Diego Should Know: Linda Williams," 16 Sep. 2019 In a series of moves, the campaign has replaced the New Hampshire state director, Joe Caiazzo, with Shannon Jackson, who is a member of Mr. Sanders’s inner circle and who led the senator’s re-election campaign in Vermont last year. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "Bernie Sanders Campaign Shakes Up New Hampshire Operation," 15 Sep. 2019 Casually break down your day and your larger tasks into a list of small reminders, using bullet points in black, with an open circle or square next to each one. Amy Dickinson, The Mercury News, "Ask Amy: When I say I don’t want to get married, they argue with me," 13 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The 38th annual celebration Saturday began at 10 a.m. and circled a path through the historic Avenida Guadalupe neighborhood in the city’s West Side. Diego Mendoza-moyers, ExpressNews.com, "West side Diez y Seis parade blends culture, community," 14 Sep. 2019 Liverpool have reportedly entered the race for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich already circling the Spaniard. SI.com, "Liverpool Join Barcelona & Real Madrid in Race for Napoli Star Fabian Ruiz," 13 Sep. 2019 Screenwriter Fellowes keeps things in moderate-to-medium bustle, circling an extremely simple idea. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "’Downton Abbey’ review: The servants are revolting," 13 Sep. 2019 This isn’t the only sense in which Urbina has constructed his book as a kind of inexorable current, circling around and around again. Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post, "How lawlessness and ignorance are harming our oceans," 12 Sep. 2019 Spot a Golden Eagle circling overhead, or catch a glimpse of white Dall sheep perched high on a mountainside. National Geographic, "Alaska Expedition: Wildlife, Fjords, and Glaciers," 10 Sep. 2019 India’s Chandrayaan-2 orbiter circling the moon has spotted the country’s lost Vikram lander on the lunar surface, but there is still no signal from the lander, according to Indian media reports. Tariq Malik, Scientific American, "India Locates Its Lost Vikram Lander on the Moon," 9 Sep. 2019 Just press and hold the side button while circling text, photos, and more on the screen to have the Assistant look up more information about that content. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: How to buy a Chromebook, plus our best picks," 7 Sep. 2019 The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter launched into space on July 22 and has been circling the moon since Aug. 20. NBC News, "India's space agency loses contact with craft moments before moon landing," 6 Sep. 2019

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

4 Oct 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

Comments on circle

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