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

The restaurant is in line with current village efforts to create a greater residential and commercial mix in the circular area, which includes Village Hall and other municipal buildings. Staff Report,, "Eggsperience heading to Elmwood Park's Circle area," 9 July 2018 The sidewalks bore circular marks from cleaning equipment that scrubbed the blood away. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "She's 6, 'a bright, happy little girl.' Stabbed in Boise. Her brother and mother too.," 2 July 2018 Her outfit alone is conversation-worthy, but Aniston sparked even further Internet discussion today because of the circular marks on her upper back. Lauren Le Vine, Redbook, "Jennifer Aniston Wears a Strapless Tux — and What's That On Her Back?," 17 Apr. 2013 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To secure the city and the southern edge of their kingdom, butting up against the Frankish Kingdom, Danish kings also built the Danevirke, a 20.5 mile-long semi-circular wall to protect Hedeby. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Viking Archeological Site and Others Earn World Heritage Status," 2 July 2018 The plaque mimics the English Heritage circular blue plaques — more than 900 of them — that dot London. Richard Ruelas, azcentral, "Visiting the London wine bar that popped the cork on the Trump investigation," 22 June 2018 The circular, theater-like space had been kept a secret for more than a year while the ship was under construction. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "New Viking Cruises ship boasts high-tech planetarium," 14 June 2018 This iconic hall built in 1908 features a semi-circular; quonset style ceiling. Zeke Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "Area dance halls are the real Texas," 11 June 2018 Fungal diseases include black rot, which results in circular, dark depressions on tubers. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow Perfect Sweet Potatoes In Your Backyard," 15 Mar. 2017 As guests poured out of the circular dining room, Martin Short was already trying to create a bit around the ending, jokingly explaining it to Michael Keaton and Catherine O’Hara. Julie Miller, HWD, "Vanity Fair Oscar Party Report: Emma Stone, Matt Damon, Jimmy Kimmel, and More Let Loose," 27 Feb. 2017 Outside, a circular fire pit and in-ground spa take in a view of city lights. Neal J. Leitereg,, "Taraji P. Henson gives up a piece of her empire in the Hollywood Hills," 2 May 2018 Using a fork and working in a circular motion, stir until dough starts to form large clumps. Bon Appetit, "Buttery German Apple Cake," 9 Apr. 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

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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