noun, often attributive
cir·​cuit | \ˈsər-kət \

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 \ -​kə-​tᵊl \ adjective

Examples of circuit in a Sentence


It takes a year for the Earth to make one circuit around the sun.


after circuiting the exterior of the church, the procession headed inside

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Using lab tools to activate that reward circuit in mice, scientists discovered that its chemical signals reach the immune system, empowering a subset of bone marrow cells to slow the growth of tumors. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Could Brain Stimulation Slow Cancer?," 13 July 2018 Clark Wade/IndyStar To reign supreme in the Verizon IndyCar Series, a driver must master circuits of all different shapes and sizes. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar: 5 storylines as series heads to Hunter-Reay's home away from home, Iowa Speedway," 5 July 2018 The all-white uniforms required by Wimbledon are a stylish standout on tennis's circuit of major tournaments. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Roger Federer Officially Leaves Nike for Uniqlo," 2 July 2018 The goal is to complete the circuit 5,649 times before the 52-day limit. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "The Ultrarunning Hall of Fame," 29 June 2018 Since returning to the circuit last summer at Wimbledon, Stephens has been on quite the comeback trail. Dearbea Walker,, "Sloane Stephens brings Grand Slam success and a taste for cheesesteaks to Philadelphia Freedoms," 20 June 2018 Though running for what would be her first political office, Barreiro enjoyed the financial support from Miami-Dade's circuit of lobbyists, developers and vendors who dominate fundraising for incumbents. Douglas Hanks, miamiherald, "Eileen Higgins wins Miami-Dade commission seat in upset over Zoraida Barreiro," 19 June 2018 Among the drivers expected to compete are Kyle Larson, the Elk Grove native who was last year's pole sitter; Kevin Harvick, the 2017 race winner; Martin Truex Jr., the defending Cup Series champion; and Kyle Busch, who leads the circuit this season. Noel Harris, sacbee, "Why several 18-wheelers will be in Sacramento and where to see (or drive around) them," 18 June 2018 Many women performing on the festival circuit also experience significant wage disparities said several panelists. Jessica Lipsky, Billboard, "Latin Women Take The Reins: Insights From the Latin Alternative Music Conference," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Walker followed with a walk, but Clevinger got Miguel Andujar to ground into a double play and struck out Tyler Austin, short-circuiting the only threat against him until the eighth. Pete Caldera, USA TODAY, "Gleyber Torres hits walk-off three-run homer to help Yankees sweep Indians," 6 May 2018 John mentioned some of them Judge Brett Kavanaugh, D.C. circuit U.S. Court of Appeals here in Washington. Fox News, "Leonard Leo on replacement options for Justice Kennedy," 28 June 2018 Warped legislative maps short-circuit the nation’s democratic process by creating legislatures that don’t quite reflect the voters’ collective will. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Consequences of the Supreme Court’s Punt on Gerrymandering," 18 June 2018 The awards circuit red carpet in recent years has been overrun with cis actors who play trans characters, are celebrated and honored for it, and move on to the next role while those who actually live as transgender can be bullied, beaten, or killed. Ty Burr,, "Who gets to play transgender roles?," 12 July 2018 With the Nike, Adidas and Under Armour AAU circuits all hosting marquee events this week, expect new targets to emerge though. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "5 recruits who might earn a Kentucky basketball offer in July," 11 July 2018 But the way the deal was done has short-circuited the democratic process. Jason Hayes, WSJ, "A California Billionaire Sets Michigan’s Energy Policy," 22 June 2018 But the heaviest carnage came with changes in the natural hydrology of the rivers and other waterways inhabited by alligator gar — changes that shore-circuited the fishes’ reproduction. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Gars’ fortunes, anglers’ attitudes evolve over the years," 9 June 2018 The struggle over Appiah’s future eventually short-circuited it. Laurent Dubois, The Atlantic, "How Not to Scout for Soccer Talent," 14 June 2018

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


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


see circuit entry 1

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Statistics for circuit

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for circuit

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

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More Definitions for circuit



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 \

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 \

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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Comments on circuit

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