cir·cu·lar | \ ˈsər-kyə-lər \

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, -ˈla-rə- \ noun
circularly \ˈsər-kyə-lər-lē \ 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

Sometimes, that can mean deviating from the more traditional circular format your mind probably jumps to. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "These Tetrahedral Gears Are Wonderfully Pointless," 29 June 2018 There’s even a circular window that mimics a peek into the restaurant’s dry-aging room. Celestina Blok, star-telegram, "Restaurant roundup: Bartaco in WestBend, Newk's up north and deals for Dad's day," 6 June 2018 Some continued to try to revive Rowyn while others stretched yellow tape around the circular drive as neighbors and relatives started gathering in the yard. Liz Brody, Glamour, "'I Accidentally Killed My Best Friend's Daughter'—How Two Women Recovered From the Worst Pain Imaginable," 21 Mar. 2018 Driver was able to spot, for instance, circular crop marks where the Iron Age fort of Gaer Fawr was once located. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Heat Wave is Revealing Centuries-Old Sites in Wales," 11 July 2018 Use circular motions to remove all of the makeup from your skin. Dr. Leslie Baumann, miamiherald, "How to use a skin cleanser and see results," 3 July 2018 Giraffe-thin, white wood chairs and tables were cut with circular motifs that recalled eggs, and, by association, fertility. Sam Lubell, New York Times, "A Glasgow Architect’s Masterpiece Is Damaged, but Not His Magic," 2 July 2018 Its wooden shelves bear circular stains where the Parmigiano once rested. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Someone Is Stealing Italy’s Most Precious Cheese," 22 June 2018 Just massage onto the skin in gentle, circular motions, explains Dr. Engelman. 2. Emily Rekstis, SELF, "9 Ways to Use Bio-Oil, the Drugstore Scar Treatment People Love," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Visitors enter Knight Rise and take a seat along the concrete bench lining the circular room. Scott Craven, azcentral, "James Turrell: Artist transforming a Flagstaff crater has blazed a career in light, shadow and illusion," 16 May 2018 The gold circular halo that Huntington-Whiteley wore was clipped into her low silky, knotted bun, which was styled with a sleek middle part. Lauren Swanson, Allure, "Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Wore an Actual Halo in Her Hair at the 2018 Met Gala," 7 May 2018 Originally a private house, the open-air circular dining room overlooks the harbor. David Jefferys, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Perfect (Long) Weekend in St. Barts," 16 Apr. 2018 The major loss is Pope’s circular music room, with its skylight, narrow vestibules, and classical arch pediments. Justin Davidson, Daily Intelligencer, "This Time, a Much More Promising Attempt to Fix the Frick," 13 Apr. 2018 However, some parts of circular Line 15 have been delayed to 2030. Shefali Anand, WSJ, "With Grand Paris Express, Paris Hopes to Expand Its Borders—And Metropolitan Might," 2 July 2018 Provenance’s view needs to be included in the circular on the deal that’s sent to holders. Krystal Chia,, "Noble Group Halts Shares as Restructuring Hangs in Balance," 18 June 2018 If this hasn’t been done, the circular lesions may not be ringworm-related. Dr. Patty Khuly, miamiherald, "Ringworm not really a worm but a fungus contagious to pets and humans | Miami Herald," 18 May 2018 Sediment records have confirmed that Jupiter and Venus change the Earth's orbit from virtually circular to noticeably elliptical and back every 405,000 years. Christopher Intagliata, Scientific American, "Jupiter and Venus Squeeze Earth's Orbit," 10 May 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

9 Sep 2018

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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 \

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 \

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).


the setting in which something occurs

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