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 Only a few people, however, knew the secret that Baffert carried with him into the winner’s circle that day: Justify had failed a drug test weeks before the first race in the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby. Joe Drape, New York Times, "Justify Failed a Drug Test Before Winning the Triple Crown," 11 Sep. 2019 The informant, according to people familiar with the matter, was outside Putin’s inner circle, but saw him regularly and had access to high-level Kremlin decision-making — easily making the source one of the agency’s most valuable assets. BostonGlobe.com, "Rescue of CIA spy left blind spot at Kremlin - The Boston Globe," 11 Sep. 2019 Only a few people, however, knew the secret that Baffert carried with him into the winner’s circle that day: Justify had failed a drug test weeks before the first race in the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby. Joe Drape, SFChronicle.com, "Justify won Triple Crown after failing a drug test," 11 Sep. 2019 Bubba Watson Collected three top 10s last year but was held out of the winner’s circle for just the second time since 2013. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier: Fantasy Golf Power Rankings," 10 Sep. 2019 The decision of her circle to oust the vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, having apparently tried to poison him, from his seat as heir prompted his brief flight into exile and precipitated the military coup in late 2017. The Economist, "Robert Mugabe leaves a bitter legacy," 7 Sep. 2019 But like ZZ Top, Dire Straits had people in their circle that were savvy about the value of video at the time. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Mark Knopfler stops time in Sugar Land," 7 Sep. 2019 Hiring Avalos tightened up Cristobal’s inner circle. John Canzano | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Canzano: The secret of Oregon Ducks coach Mario Cristobal’s book club," 30 Aug. 2019 Isabella Taylor is no stranger to the winner’s circle having competed in the United States Lifesaving Association National Championships as a junior lifeguard since 2013. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Hollywood teenager’s success at USLA U19 National Championship earns Team USA berth," 29 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Suspicious person: Gretna Green Drive A woman reported at 6:40 p.m. Sept. 7 that a man in a vehicle appeared to be circling around four girls under the age of 12. cleveland.com, "Unknown man asks 12-year-old girl to allow him into her back yard: Highland Heights Police Blotter," 12 Sep. 2019 Anna Barnett said the dragonflies darted and circled all afternoon at the Mohican Hills Golf Club in Jeromesville, Ohio. David Williams, CNN, "Weather radar picks up swarming dragonflies in 3 states," 12 Sep. 2019 Alexander said he's had this game circled on his calendar since the schedule came out in April. Fred Goodall, orlandosentinel.com, "Struggling Buccaneers, 49ers hopeful for turnaround seasons," 7 Sep. 2019 While the North Shore game was understandably circled for the Katy football team and many observers, the Tigers will not have much time to celebrate their 24-21 victory. Marcus Gutierrez, Houston Chronicle, "Katy, Atascocita football produced a classic last fall," 4 Sep. 2019 In the labor, in the honing of the craft, in the patience for the always circling muse. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "In memory of a songwriter’s songwriter and Muscle Shoals music icon," 30 Aug. 2019 Haynes and Records struggled with the control wheel, circling it in right-turn circles, bound for Sioux City airport. Darran Simon And Pierre Meilhan, CNN, "Former United Airlines pilot Al Haynes, who saved 184 lives during 1989 Iowa crash landing, has died," 27 Aug. 2019 Police reports say the victim was out walking his dog when Saia and another man rode up to the victim on bikes and began circling him. oregonlive.com, "Portland man sentenced for random hatchet attack," 14 Aug. 2019 As a response, Hall took a screenshot of the comment, circled it, and posted it to Instagram in a separate post. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Read Tamron Hall's Emotional Response to Instagrammer Who Said Her Baby "Must Miss You"," 31 July 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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Statistics for circle

Last Updated

1 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce circle (audio)

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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