cir·​cu·​lar | \ ˈsər-kyə-lər How to pronounce circular (audio) \

Definition of circular

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having the form of a circle : round a circular orbit
b : moving in or describing a circle or spiral a circular staircase
2a : of or relating to a circle or its mathematical properties a circular arc
b : having a circular base or bases a circular cylinder
4 : marked by or moving in a cycle
5 : being or involving reasoning that uses in the argument or proof a conclusion to be proved or one of its unproved consequences
6 : intended for circulation a circular letter



Definition of circular (Entry 2 of 2)

: a paper (such as a leaflet) intended for wide distribution

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Other Words from circular


circularity \ ˌsər-​kyə-​ˈler-​ə-​tē How to pronounce circularity (audio) , -​ˈla-​rə-​ \ noun
circularly \ ˈsər-​kyə-​lər-​lē How to pronounce circularly (audio) \ adverb
circularness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for circular

Synonyms: Adjective

circuitous, indirect, roundabout

Synonyms: Noun

booklet, brochure, flyer (also flier), folder, leaflet, pamphlet

Antonyms: Adjective

direct, straight, straightforward

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Examples of circular in a Sentence


That planet has a more circular orbit than our planet does. a rather circular discussion of the problem that never addresses it directly


According to the circular, eggs are on sale this week. promptly tosses out those advertising circulars that come in the newspaper
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The word en loosely translates to together in Japanese and is also a nod to enso, the Zen Buddhist practice of circular ink painting. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "This Design Duo Is Crafting Heirlooms for a New Generation of Jewelry Obsessives," 1 Apr. 2019 At Erdem Moralioglu’s studio in the eastern reaches of London, Vogue got an in-depth preview of that process, starting with Moralioglu’s circular sketch and ending with the confection worn by Matilde Buoso on the runway. Amanda Brooks, Vogue, "From Sketch to Dress: How Erdem Revived an Italian Principessa in Custom Fil Coupé," 26 Feb. 2019 The sCarabane rests on a circular stand that allows it to rotate and move. Megan Barber, Curbed, "5 campers pushing RV design into the future," 28 Sep. 2018 Long-term plans call for an informational sign, grass and two circular paths around the tree. Ted Gregory,, "Just in time for Arbor Day, new preserve lays claim to Illinois' biggest tree," 27 Apr. 2018 His was wrangling two full pallets of sand and 6.8 tons of stone into a circular path through a garden at his church, St. William Catholic Church in Waukesha. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "West Allis troop sets record for 11 Eagle Scouts in one year," 17 Jan. 2018 The circular stone church, built in the mid-1700s, resembles the spare, thatched-roof homes many Ethiopians inhabit even today. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "A True Island Sanctuary," 8 Feb. 2019 Olay Regenerist Whip Fragrance-Free SHOP Apply small dots all over (don’t just take one glob onto your fingertips), then rub them in completely using small circular motions, working from the inside of your face outward. Nicole Catanese, Marie Claire, "5 Ways to Supercharge Your Skincare Products," 10 Dec. 2018 The circular collection device is at the tip of the arm, and the round face is the only part of the spacecraft that will touch Bennu, resting on the surface. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Spacecraft That's About to Play Tag with an Asteroid," 16 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Any DIYer should have a circular saw (and here are our favorite ones). Tim Layton, Popular Mechanics, "Out Best Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Circular Saw," 14 Mar. 2019 Each member of the bridal party was gifted with a circular basket embroidered with their name by Edit 58, containing a pair of silver Ancient Greek Sandals with pink pony heart details and pink silk robes to wear while getting ready. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Two Ultra-Stylish Brides Dreamed Up the Ultimate Countryside Wedding," 21 Feb. 2019 In a stroke of good fortune, making a jet using a circular opening produces a gas with a parabolic density profile. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Gas jets make beautiful lens for light we can’t normally focus," 21 Dec. 2018 With the right blade, a circular saw can be used to cut framing lumber, sheet goods, roofing, metal, masonry, and more. Tim Layton, Popular Mechanics, "Out Best Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Circular Saw," 14 Mar. 2019 Abbott’s product, part of its Masters HP series, is rotatable, with a bileaflet design that consists of two semi-circular discs that open and close in response to blood pressure changes during the heartbeat. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz,, "FDA approves world's smallest mechanical heart valve, made by Abbott, for use in infants and toddlers," 8 Mar. 2018 Taken were a stereo, two Milwaukee circular saws, two Milwaukee drills, four batteries, sunglasses and a garage-door opener remote control. Bob Dohr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Franklin police report: Woman reports fraud after 'buying' teacup Yorkshire terrier online," 7 Feb. 2018 One key, McDonough says, is to think in terms of living systems: circular systems, rather than linear. Mariette Dichristina, Scientific American, "Designing the City of Tomorrow Today," 1 July 2017 Relph and Taylor worked with a graphic designer to create the signs and incorporated them into a circular design that is meant to have a vintage feel. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Mercii Is the Bali-Based Label Making Star-Sign Necklaces for the Instagram Age," 7 Dec. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1789, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for circular


Middle English circuler, from Middle French, from Late Latin circularis, from Latin circulus circle

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Statistics for circular

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for circular

The first known use of circular was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for circular



English Language Learners Definition of circular

: a printed sheet (such as an advertisement) that is given or sent to many people at the same time


cir·​cu·​lar | \ ˈsər-kyə-lər How to pronounce circular (audio) \

Kids Definition of circular

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : shaped like a circle or part of a circle : round a circular track
2 : passing or going around in a circle a circular motion
3 : not said in simple or sincere language a circular explanation



Kids Definition of circular (Entry 2 of 2)

: a printed notice or advertisement given or sent to many people


cir·​cu·​lar | \ ˈsər-kyə-lər How to pronounce circular (audio) \

Medical Definition of circular

: manic-depressive especially : bipolar sense 3 the exalted phase of the mental circular state — Havelock Ellis

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More from Merriam-Webster on circular

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for circular

Spanish Central: Translation of circular

Nglish: Translation of circular for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of circular for Arabic Speakers

Comments on circular

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


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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