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

Eliminating any and all waste textiles from the loop, pre- and postconsumer—that’s what will make Eileen Fisher truly circular, and what fashion at large needs to achieve to stop producing so much waste, and to stop wasting energy. Bridget Read, Vogue, "In the Future, We’ll All Be Wearing Eileen Fisher," 29 May 2019 What’s most exciting to me is the developments in technology which will eventually enable the industry to become a circular economy. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Rachael Wang On Fair Trade’s First-Ever Lookbook, Activism and Sustainability," 29 Apr. 2019 Birds do it by moving the whole wing , and so does a cyclocopter, but the movement is in a circular pattern, which is mechanically simpler than flapping up and down. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "After More Than a Century, the Cyclocopter Is Making a Comeback," 5 Apr. 2019 With its circular sleeves and oversize metal belt, the Olivier Rousteing design was far from the standard little black dress, but Rae and her stylist Jason Rembert have always been eager to subvert norms. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Issa Rae Joins the Balmain Army in Spectacular Fashion," 9 Apr. 2019 Now, casinos with names like Wisney World dot its blocks, the constant whine of grinders and circular saws backdrops conversation and new construction is swallowing up public beaches. Sanjay Surana, WSJ, "Cambodia: The Chicest New Beach Destination in Asia," 15 Jan. 2019 Astronomers have long hypothesized that other planets in our solar system have impacts here on Earth, shifting its whirl around the sun from nearly circular to five percent elliptical. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Venus and Jupiter May Meddle With Earth’s Orbit and Climate," 10 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Or, wrap ice cubes in gauze and slide the cubes from the inner eye corners up towards the brow in a circular motion. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Kate Moss’s Secret Facial Remedy Is Already in Your Freezer," 12 June 2019 To do so, use a nail buffer like Deborah Lippmann’s Smooth Operator 4-Way Nail Buffer on the surface of your nails in gentle circular motions to smooth and brighten beds. Emily Rekstis, Glamour, "10 Things You Can Do Now to Get Stronger, Healthier Nails ASAP," 20 Apr. 2019 Buffing it in with a circular motion helped melt the foundation into my skin more efficiently. Devon Abelman, Allure, "The Game-Changing Power of Applying Your Foundation With a Highlighter Brush," 22 Mar. 2019 The wedding video, by Harrison Films, shows off their backyard ceremony featuring a circular altar decorated with pink and white blooms as well as Gina's beautiful wedding dress. Neha Prakash, Glamour, "Gina Rodriguez Wore Not One, But Two Gorgeous Wedding Dresses," 6 May 2019 For years, long banquet tables were the norm, but according to TIME magazine, customs have since evolved; the now-common circular tables were a tradition started by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "A Brief History of State Dinners," 25 Apr. 2018 The next night, Lam entered an elegant dining room and saw three familiar faces seated at a large circular table — fellow staff members from Mighty Current. Alex W. Palmer, New York Times, "The Case of Hong Kong’s Missing Booksellers," 3 Apr. 2018 A few hours before the start of the national championship, the Irish players were seated around three circular tables in a conference room at the Marriott Columbus. Ben Baskin,, "Arike Ogunbowale Gives Notre Dame a Star, a Shot and a Season to Cherish," 2 Apr. 2018 Contramar is, of course, already on your list and everyone else’s, especially at mid-day on a Friday when work stops early and the first of many rounds of tequila hit the circular tables draped in simple whites. Scarlett Lindeman, Bon Appetit, "The Best Healthy Restaurants in Mexico City," 28 Mar. 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

17 Jun 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).


showing courage and determination

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