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


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

Jones and Rivers first joined forces on the flag circuit two years ago, after Jones and his family moved their offseason home to San Diego, where the Chargers played for most of Rivers' 16-year career. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Why Detroit Lions' Marvin Jones, Chargers' Philip Rivers share a flag-football bond," 13 Sep. 2019 Fithen is in the 200-plus-pound open class and beloved on the circuit. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Strongest woman in the world is from Indy and she has a filthy mouth and a heart of gold," 12 Sep. 2019 And Toronto is the latest stop on the awards-season circuit after winning the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Toronto Film Festival: Playing the Joker 'wasn't an easy decision' for Joaquin Phoenix," 10 Sep. 2019 The Thessaloniki International Film Festival — one of the oldest festivals on the circuit — this year celebrates its 60th edition. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Thessaloniki Fest Turns 60: Why Organizers Aim to Be "More Dynamic" Toward Cinema's New Era," 7 Sep. 2019 The technical specialist has achieved unprecedented success in his 12 years on the World Cup circuit with six season titles in each of the slalom and giant slalom disciplines. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, "Austrian ski racing great Marcel Hirscher retires," 4 Sep. 2019 In subsequent years on the speaking circuit, Haynes stressed this need for collaborative leadership. Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, "Other voices: Before Capt. Sully, there was hero pilot Al Haynes," 29 Aug. 2019 Work dried up for the middle-aged actor, who was soon getting by with gigs on the dinner-theater circuit. Lynette Rice,, "The tragic, unsolved murder of Hogan's Heroes star Bob Crane," 26 Aug. 2019 Senior contributor Ted Koppel looks at the human toll tennis takes on those competing on the professional circuit. CBS News, "This week on "Sunday Morning" (August 25)," 22 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Pedroia appeared in six games this season before his comeback was short-circuited by persistent knee pain. Julian Mcwilliams,, "Christian Vazquez nears a catching milestone," 25 Aug. 2019 The Obama administration launched an investigation in which the target was Donald Trump and the objective was short-circuiting his presidency. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Trump Was Always the Target of the Russia Investigation," 30 Aug. 2019 Physical fatigue leads to mental fatigue, short-circuiting the mind’s decision-making capacity. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego State’s Matt Mitchell spending summer slimming down," 22 July 2019 Double-play grounders quickly short-circuited the first and second. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Padres 4, Brewers 1: Rookie pitcher short-circuits offense once again," 19 June 2019 When the second Bush administration cooked up a case and a plan for war with Iraq, much of the cooking was done within the Pentagon, under the eye of Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; the results of that short-circuiting were bad enough. Adam Weinstein, The New Republic, "Who Is Actually Running the U.S. Military’s Iran Efforts?," 18 June 2019 She's dragged the whole country into this and short-circuited a process the rest of us are vested in and not bothered to explain herself? Fox News, "New evidence of political bias at Google; gender politics at play in Michigan Senate race," 21 Sep. 2018 As commander in chief, Trump immediately complicated the military’s case against Golsteyn, raising questions of undue command influence, as well as the possibility that the prosecution is bound to be short-circuited by a pardon. Taimoor Shah, The Seattle Times, "Trump to ‘review’ case of Green Beret accused of murdering Afghan," 16 Dec. 2018 The evening ends with similar impact, as the full company’s arcing paths of running dancers circuit the stage, at times suggesting a whirlpool, before looping out as a whiplash of punctuation. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "‘The Six Brandenburg Concertos’ Review: Falling Short of Bach," 5 Oct. 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

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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Statistics for circuit

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

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 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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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).


involving a confidence or trust

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