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 circle of corruption results when there are not effective controls. Washington Post, "AP Interview: Guatemala graft body’s chief happy despite end," 2 Sep. 2019 Beede grabbed a bat and stood in the on-deck circle in the top of the fifth, but he was lifted for pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt after second baseman Mauricio Dubón recorded the first extra-base hit of his career. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Mauricio Dubón hits first MLB home run, Giants’ visions shifting as losses pile up," 2 Sep. 2019 The circles point out large clumps of matter, many of which join and grow over time. Scientific American, "Nanomachines, Jellyfish Hugs and Hurricane Dorian From Space: The Week's Best Science GIFs," 30 Aug. 2019 Two of his three attempts landed within in the circle, including a shot that nearly found the bottom of the cup. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: ‘Fun Phil’ Mickelson dives into social media while helping San Diego kids," 30 Aug. 2019 Lebenzon has been tapped to work on Top Gun: Maverick, Paramount and Skydance’s sequel to the 1980s classic, giving him a closing-of-the-circle moment. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, "Original 'Top Gun' Editor Returning to Work on Sequel (Exclusive)," 30 Aug. 2019 But the circles can accommodate at most a couple of hundred thousand bases, and synthetic biologists often want to move large segments of chromosomes containing multiple genes, which can be millions of bases long or more. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Forget single genes: CRISPR now cuts and splices whole chromosomes," 29 Aug. 2019 At one point during the end of the third match of the tournament, only four teams remained, each sitting on a different edge of the circle. Aron Garst, The Verge, "Illegal tournaments and rejected visas: Team Vietnam’s long road to the PUBG Nations Cup," 20 Aug. 2019 Packer does not refer to a single instance during Holbrooke’s long career in which the man took a position that might exclude him from the inner circles of power, whether that power resided in Washington or on Wall Street. David Rieff, Harper's magazine, "An American in the Treetops," 19 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That’s just circling around the $3.25 billion value from its final VC round six months ago. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Why Google Won’t End Up Like Microsoft—Data Sheet," 4 Sep. 2019 The Main Thing is Butler as a proverbial sun and planets circling around him: simplicity like Tim Duncan and the Spurs, or Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors. -- Leonard, Cornelius, N.C. A: Agreed. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: In the end, did Mario Chalmers steal Jeremy Lin’s soul?," 28 Aug. 2019 With dead-eyed Kendall, Roman the joker king, and Shiv the cold golden child circling around their aggressive, manipulative, and capricious father, media mogul Logan Roy, the show offers endless amusement. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Succession’ is more ‘Dynasty’ than it is ‘King Lear’," 21 Aug. 2019 The other person did not come out of his apartment, so Simmons circled around to the back, police said. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "A social media feud between rappers led to the killing of a 9-year-old girl, police say," 17 Aug. 2019 The other person did not come out of his apartment, so Simmons circled around to the back, police said. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Two Dallas rappers' social media rivalry led to the fatal shooting of girl, 9, police say," 17 Aug. 2019 Fellow centre-back Jerome Boateng is a doubt due to personal reasons, with rumours of an exit still circling around the German. SI.com, "Bayern Munich vs Fenerbahce Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 28 July 2019 There’s the presence of a drone in many songs, providing a center around which improvised melodies can circle. Elizabeth Nonemaker, baltimoresun.com, "Vieux Farka Touré brings the sounds of Mali to Baltimore," 19 July 2019 But calls for a public designation intensified this year after the June 29 Portland clashes, leading to multiple petitions circling around the internet. oregonlive.com, "Senate resolution calls for antifa activists to be labeled as domestic terrorists," 19 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

6 Sep 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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