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 circuit (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 the conference circuit, BioMarin Pharmaceutical and Jazz Pharmaceuticals are among companies due to present at the JPMorgan Napa Valley Forum. Joe Wallace, WSJ, "Goldman, Discovery, Houghton: What to Watch When the Stock Market Opens Today," 29 Mar. 2021 Hit the road with some of the hardest-working female comics on the stand-up circuit in this documentary. Los Angeles Times, "What’s on TV This Week: ‘The Ten Commandments,’ a ‘Law & Order’ spinoff, the Final Four and more," 26 Mar. 2021 The drivers are certainly pleased to be making a couple of visits to one of their favorite stops, a treacherous, high-speed layout that produces some of the best racing on the Cup circuit. Paul Newberry, ajc, "NASCAR returns to its roots with 1st of 2 visits to Atlanta," 20 Mar. 2021 Their two older daughters, Ursula and India, came along for multiple summer trips on the travel basketball circuit and left their impact by putting pennies in Gatorade bottles to make noise. Matt Goul, cleveland, "A first for father and son: Cameron Joyce leads St. Ignatius, while dad Dru Joyce II has St. Vincent-St. Mary in state semifinals at the same time," 19 Mar. 2021 Franklin learned to drink on the gospel circuit, and alcohol became a longtime crutch. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: National Geographic’s Aretha Franklin miniseries misses its groove," 19 Mar. 2021 Between his junior and senior years, Duarte spent most of the summer living with Dingle on Long Island and played on the Elite Youth Basketball League circuit. oregonlive, "Chris Duarte’s journey: From Dominican Republic, to junior college sixth man, to fatherhood, to All-American for Oregon Ducks," 18 Mar. 2021 Smart and Coleman soon became thick as thieves after meeting on the AAU circuit and planned to join forces at VCU in 2017. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas' Matt Coleman, Shaka Smart hope long journey ends in Final Four run," 17 Mar. 2021 With the win, Thomas became the fourth player in PGA Tour history with 14 victories on the circuit before his 28th birthday, joining Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Tiger Woods. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Justin Thomas wins Players Championship, $2.7 million," 15 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After a transfer hearing last week, Limestone County Juvenile Judge Matthew Huggins ordered the case to be transferred to circuit criminal court for prosecution and bound over to a grand jury. al, "Alabama teen accused of killing 5 family members shows no remorse, court documents state," 12 Nov. 2020 Eventually, these eleven words could underlie the next generation of arms control negotiations, strengthen the global nonproliferation regime, and help short-circuit a second nuclear arms race. Jessica T. Mathews, The New York Review of Books, "The New Nuclear Threat," 22 July 2020 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

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

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Circuit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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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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