Definition of circumference
- The circle measures 22 inches in circumference.
- from the center to the circumference of the sphere
What is the circumference of the Earth at the equator?
The circle is 38 inches in circumference.
The fence marks the circumference of the field.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumference.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Attempts have been made to measure the circumference of the earth since the time of Aristotle. The calculation that Columbus was relying on led him to think he could reach China by sailing west more quickly than by sailing east. But that measurement had calculated the earth's circumference as about a quarter too small, and the rest is history. Columbus wasn't the only one who got it wrong; many later attempts continued to produce different measurements for the earth's circumference—even though the Greeks had calculated it correctly way back in the 3rd century B.C.
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