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 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 Restriction enzymes, the standard tool for cutting DNA, can snip chunks of genetic material and join the ends to form small circular segments that can be moved out of one cell and into another. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Forget single genes: CRISPR now cuts and splices whole chromosomes," 29 Aug. 2019 The fashion industry has started to recognize the need for change, and generally sees the solution in a circular economy, meaning one that reuses and repurposes existing garments while reducing waste and the use of virgin resources. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "There’s never been a better time—or more need—to buy your clothes used," 16 Aug. 2019 Reminiscent of the Guggenheim, this home is composed of rounded walls and circular buildings. Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle, "Last home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Norman Lykes House, listed with huge price drop," 15 Aug. 2019 The circular structure of the play, in which the characters gather, disperse and provisionally reassemble, is perhaps another reason the work isn’t widely performed. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Under-performed feminist masterpiece ‘Fefu and Her Friends’ is reborn at the Odyssey," 13 Aug. 2019 About a dozen circular tables are situated a few feet from the main stage. Justin Phillips,, "One of San Francisco’s last blues venues faces closure as it battles Jack in the Box," 3 Aug. 2019 One wall sports an old bicycle, another circular slices of hewn logs. Rand Richards Cooper,, "Review: Down-home BBQ gets upscale at Que Whiskey Kitchen in Southington," 1 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

9 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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