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

Balletic lifts and flowing circular partnering present hope, kindness and support. Laura Bleiberg, Los Angeles Times, "Review: In a breakthrough show, Invertigo Dance takes a delicious bite from a forbidden apple," 15 Sep. 2019 With its circular drive and manicured lawn, the stately French provincial home opening Sept. 21 as the 33rd annual decorator show house for Historic Ellicott City Inc. seems to have a split personality. Janene Holzberg,, "Old World grandeur meets homey in historic Ellicott City show house," 13 Sep. 2019 The circular investment is part of the plan, says Goudiaby. Aryn Baker / Mbar Toubab, Time, "Can a 4,815-Mile Wall of Trees Help Curb Climate Change in Africa?," 12 Sep. 2019 The week-long seminar on business, work and the circular economy, in early September, had divine overtones. The Economist, "Popenomics," 7 Sep. 2019 Both circular strands of DNA are protected from endonucleases. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Forget single genes: CRISPR now cuts and splices whole chromosomes," 29 Aug. 2019 Trees grown in containers can become pot bound, forcing roots to grow in a circular pattern around the root ball, rather like a ball of string. Rebecca Jepsen, The Mercury News, "Bay Area gardens: How to cope with Japanese maple dieback," 28 Aug. 2019 The paintings employ black backdrops, and most of the pictures are round, often with a circular form at or near the center. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: If creative ceramics are your cup of tea, go to the Renwick Gallery," 3 Sep. 2019 Along with teaching circus acts like ball walking and juggling, Kapelczak offers instruction in silks, trapeze and aerial acrobatics using a lyra hoop, which is a circular steel ring suspended in the air by a cable. Ramona Sentinel, "Lora Kapelczak flies high as an aerial acrobat artist," 29 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The spacecraft will next perform a series of orbit maneuvers, positioning itself into a circular orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 62 miles (100 km) from the Moon's surface. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "India's Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft gets closer to the moon by entering lunar orbit," 20 Aug. 2019 The rowhouse is in a cluster of eight other attached residences on a circular drive east of Columbia Pike and near the Fairland Recreational Park. Washington Post, "Arrest made in shooting death," 18 Aug. 2019 The master suite has been updated with a free-standing soaking tub and a circular shower. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property: John Stamos joins the growing celebrity crowd in gated Hidden Hills," 17 Aug. 2019 The huge circular medallion that hung from her neck. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "The Best Fashion Instagrams of the Week: Erykah Badu, Lizzo, and More," 17 Aug. 2019 The goggles measure ocular motor efficiency by moving a red dot in a circular pattern. Jon Wilner, The Denver Post, "Head trauma research: Colorado projects (funded by the Pac-12) aim to reduce, and understand, concussions," 15 Aug. 2019 Fans can buy a peace pendant necklace, which features a circular piece of wood set under a metal peace sign, for $99, or a sterling silver or gold-plated version for $369. Rachel Desantis,, "Rock Music Fans Can Now Own a Piece of the Woodstock Stage — in Necklace Form!," 15 Aug. 2019 Kraft, who works as a circular mechanic, has been with Taney for 38 years., "Business briefs: Taney Corp. honors employee; Bradshaw wins award; Carroll Lutheran Village service anniversaries," 12 Aug. 2019 Jamaica’s new circular complex evokes an athletics stadium—a note of prestige in a sport-mad country. The Economist, "Parliaments get facelifts; but it is politics that really needs one," 27 July 2019

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 2019

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 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 spread over or through

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