noun, often attributive
cir·​cuit | \ ˈsər-kət How to pronounce circuit (audio) \

Definition of circuit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a usually circular line encompassing an area a swamp about 10 miles in circuit
b : the space enclosed within such a line the circuit of the duke's land
2a : a course around a periphery the periodic circuit of the Earth around the Sun
b : a circuitous or indirect route The damaged bridge forced him to take a long circuit to his destination.
3a : a regular tour (as by a traveling judge or preacher) around an assigned district or territory The preacher ministered to each congregation in his circuit.
b : the route traveled His circuit took him to many towns in the county.
c : a group of church congregations ministered to by one pastor
4a : the complete path of an electric current including usually the source of electric energy
b : an assemblage of electronic elements : hookup
c : a two-way communication path between points (as in a computer)
d : a neuronal pathway of the brain along which electrical and chemical signals travel
5a : an association of similar groups : league
b : a number or series of public outlets (such as theaters, radio shows, or arenas) offering the same kind of presentation He loved competing on the rodeo circuit. She rose through the theater circuit to become a big-time entertainer.
c : a number of similar social gatherings the cocktail circuit


circuited; circuiting; circuits

Definition of circuit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make a circuit about a route that circuits the Back Bay section of the city

intransitive verb

: to make a circuit Potential buyers circuited around the boatyard.

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Other Words from circuit


circuital \ ˈsər-​kə-​tᵊl How to pronounce circuital (audio) \ adjective

Examples of circuit in a Sentence

Noun It takes a year for the Earth to make one circuit around the sun. Verb after circuiting the exterior of the church, the procession headed inside
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On its last decision day of 2020, the Supreme Court has delivered a 7-2 decision in favor of allowing subpoenas for President Donald Trump’s tax returns and financial records to proceed, forcing Trump to relinquish his tax returns to circuit courts. Elly Belle,, "In Trump’s America, It’s No Surprise That The Supreme Court Is Giving Us Whiplash," 9 July 2020 Qiongdan Huang is finishing up research in circuit design as a third-year electrical engineering doctoral student at UT-Dallas. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "Students and universities are scrambling after feds say those on visas at risk of deportation if classes move online," 8 July 2020 But emergencies or times of war short-circuit those standards in order to speed shipments. USA Today, "Hundreds of millions of dollars goes to COVID-19 contractors accused of prior fraud," 7 July 2020 In exile from the Legislature, Mac Parsons found an elected office that couldn’t be taken from him — a circuit judgeship in the Bessemer district. Kyle Whitmire, al, "Good luck, America! Alabama’s given up.," 2 July 2020 But the original batteries are wearing out, and NASA is in the process of replacing all 48 with 24 more powerful lithium-ion power packs and circuit-completing adapter plates to take the place of batteries that were removed but not replaced. William Harwood, CBS News, "Second spacewalk in a week continues work on space station batteries," 1 July 2020 The president's nominees to federal circuit and district courts are generally in their 40s and 50s, giving them decades to fulfill their lifetime appointments. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "President Trump has transformed the federal courts, but John Roberts still leads them," 1 July 2020 Cox and her sisters do circuit training in her front yard,and run up and down hills near their house for cardio. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "Fever rookie Lauren Cox: Competitor, inspiration, ready to return basketball," 21 June 2020 Four humans and two dogs completed the circuit between sunrise and sunset. Bill Mcgraw, Detroit Free Press, "It's swimming season in Michigan's lakes and rivers: Have fun but use caution," 12 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The sport took a hit when the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation canceled the 2020 TAAF Summer Games of Texas, leading to regional and circuit swim cancellations, according to an email from the Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium that hosts Allen’s swim team. Reese Oxner, Dallas News, "Allen summer swimming league fills gap left by coronavirus cancellations," 2 June 2020 Obviously a collision can't compromise the integrity of the pack itself, because lithium-ion cells don't react well to being short-circuited. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "As Volvo goes electric, here’s how it’s making its batteries top-notch," 31 Mar. 2020 One escaped through her hospital window and the other short-circuited the electronic lock to her room. Fox News, "Coronavirus: 5 unusual ways people reacted," 1 Mar. 2020 Plymouth was among several departments who alerted the public, after learning that a socket had been short-circuited at Plymouth North. Stephanie Purifoy,, "Plymouth students charged with attempted arson for performing viral video stunt," 23 Jan. 2020 Bailey's senior season was short-circuited by a knee injury (14 tackles, two for loss, one sack in four starts). Dave Clark,, "Reactions: Bengals take linebacker Markus Bailey of Purdue in NFL Draft seventh round," 25 Apr. 2020 On the final drive with 30 seconds left in the game, Eddie Lacy didn't drop it, but a miscommunication short-circuited what might have contributed to a touchdown instead of a game-tying field goal. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Things you forgot from that 2014 Packers postseason loss— and why Brandon Bostick isn't the only one to blame," 8 Jan. 2020 Unfortunately, the strain of having every burner and the oven on at the same time short-circuited the overworked appliance, and their cooking was ground to a halt. Paul Stephen,, "San Antonians share their scariest kitchen disasters," 23 Oct. 2019 But its regulatory standards must not be short-circuited and its flexibility must be used judiciously. CBS News, "Scientists weigh in on coronavirus drugs: What we know, what we don't," 8 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circuit.' 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 circuit


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for circuit

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French circuite, from Latin circuitus, from circumire, circuire to go around, from circum- + ire to go — more at issue entry 1

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Time Traveler for circuit

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for circuit

Last Updated

31 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Circuit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for circuit


How to pronounce circuit (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of circuit

: a series of performances, sports events, lectures, etc., that are held or done at many different places
: a path or trip around something
: the complete path that an electric current travels along


cir·​cuit | \ ˈsər-kət How to pronounce circuit (audio) \

Kids Definition of circuit

1 : a boundary line around an area
2 : an enclosed space
3 : movement around something The earth makes a circuit around the sun.
4 : a regular tour of service (as by a judge) around an assigned territory : a course so traveled
5 : a series of performances, competitions, or appearances held at many different places the pro tennis circuit
6 : the complete path of an electric current
7 : a group of electronic parts


cir·​cuit | \ ˈsər-kət How to pronounce circuit (audio) \

Medical Definition of circuit

1 : the complete path of an electric current including usually the source of electric energy
2 : a neuronal pathway of the brain along which electrical and chemical signals travel … the neurons in this brain circuit communicate using the chemical messenger dopamine.— Helen Fisher, The Wall Street Journal, 13 Feb. 2004

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Legal Definition of circuit

1a : a route formerly taken by traveling judges
b : a district established within a state or the federal judicial system
2 capitalized : the court of appeals for a circuit in the federal judicial system after the 9th Circuit's ruling— V. M. Sher

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