circumference

noun
cir·​cum·​fer·​ence | \ sər-ˈkəm(p)-fərn(t)s How to pronounce circumference (audio) , sə-, -f(ə-)rən(t)s\

Definition of circumference

1 : the perimeter of a circle The circle measures 22 inches in circumference.
2 : the external boundary or surface of a figure or object : periphery from the center to the circumference of the sphere

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Other Words from circumference

circumferential \ sər-​ˌkəm(p)-​fə-​ˈren(t)-​shəl How to pronounce circumferential (audio) , sə-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for circumference

Synonyms

girth

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Did You Know?

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.

Examples of circumference in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The two circles hang at the same point on their circumference, so the big circle always carries the little circle inside it. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Algren Award finalist: "Nothing Less Than 20,000 Watts" by Susan Finch," 2 June 2018 The drill bit used to create the hole was misaligned, leaving the tube about half a millimeter too thin along one small portion of its circumference. Roma Agrawal, New York Times, "Under Modernity’s Hood: Precision Engineering," 14 May 2018 And the small circumference surrounding you is stuck. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, ""Riverdale" Stars and Celebrities React to Luke Perry's Death," 4 Mar. 2019 Lay the drained coconut on its side, with a towel underneath to steady it, and gently hammer around the circumference until the shell begins to crack. Max Falkowitz, WSJ, "Flake News: Fresh Coconut Is Delicious," 23 Nov. 2018 Ten thousand digits was within the storage capacity of even the earliest PCs, circa 1975, and modern machines have calculated pi—the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter—to trillions of digits. James Taranto, WSJ, "How to Store Data Along Memory Lane," 18 Jan. 2019 The case only has minute numbers etched on the circumference of the display and two physical buttons on its right side; one opens the app drawer, while the other opens the workouts menu. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Huawei Watch GT review: When hardware and software don’t mesh," 16 Dec. 2018 The Million Women Study conducted in Britain demonstrated a direct link between the development of coronary heart disease and an increase in waist circumference over a 20-year period. New York Times, "The Dangers of Belly Fat," 11 June 2018 The standard dimensions of an NCAA ball these days: 11 inches long, seven inches wide and 21-inch circumference. Adam Jude, The Seattle Times, "College football’s unluckiest defense? UW Huskies’ key for more turnovers: Don’t change anything," 30 Oct. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of circumference

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for circumference

Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, from Latin circumferentia, from circumferre to carry around, from circum- + ferre to carry — more at bear

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Statistics for circumference

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for circumference

The first known use of circumference was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for circumference

circumference

noun

English Language Learners Definition of circumference

: the length of a line that goes around something or that makes a circle or other round shape
: the outer edge of a shape or area

circumference

noun
cir·​cum·​fer·​ence | \ sər-ˈkəm-fə-rəns How to pronounce circumference (audio) , -fərns\

Kids Definition of circumference

1 : the line that goes around a circle
2 : a boundary line enclosing an area A fence marks the circumference of the yard.
3 : the distance around something

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