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

This approach allowed them to short-circuit what would have been a lengthy review process. Jennifer Van Grove,, "SoccerCity continues legal action against SDSU West," 13 July 2018 College rodeo update On the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association circuit, Tyler Berghuis of Tarleton State clinched the bareback riding title during the June 10-16 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. Brett Hoffman, star-telegram, "Tolar's Freeman wins state in team roping; Weatherford's Berry wins break-away title," 24 June 2018 Kulwicki earned his engineering degree from UW-Milwaukee and then graduated from such local short tracks as Hales Corners Speedway, Slinger Speedway and Wisconsin International Raceway and the regional American Speed Association circuit. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "25 years later: How would NASCAR be different if Alan Kulwicki hadn't died?," 31 Mar. 2018 My final circuit focuses on high heart rate, core, or competition-specific movements. Laura Schwecherl, SELF, "13 Athletes Share How They Recover After a Tough Workout," 14 July 2018 Scientists don’t know how these or even more subtle differences in animals might affect how their neural circuits promote social responses. Leslie Henderson, Scientific American, "Why Our Brains See the World as "Us" versus "Them"," 22 June 2018 All-scholastics Eva Baumann Brookline | Freshman The freshman from Chestnut Hill finished as the Mass Bay East champion, was fourth at the state meet, and placed ninth for the New England Under-16 girls on the Eastern Cup circuit., "2017-18 Girls' Skiing (nordic) All-Scholastics," 7 May 2018 At just 22 years old, the Colorado native has already notched up 40 wins on the World Cup circuit. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "'Snow White' opens at Nathaniel Center in Kingwood April 13," 6 Apr. 2018 Bob Beattie, a ski-racing pioneer who helped launch the Alpine Skiing World Cup circuit, was a commentator at four Winter Olympics and coached the U.S. national and University of Colorado ski teams, died April 1 in Fruita, Colo. Washington Post, "Bob Beattie, Alpine skiing promoter who coached U.S. team in 1960s, dies at 85," 4 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 And did the State Department then take that to the FBI because somehow all the normal procedures and processes were short-circuited in this investigation? Fox News, "Peter Navarro on new tariffs, NAFTA talks and China trade," 4 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

14 Sep 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

What made you want to look up circuit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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