Definition of circus
1a : a large arena enclosed by tiers of seats on three or all four sides and used especially for sports or spectacles (as athletic contests, exhibitions of horsemanship, or in ancient times chariot racing)b : a public spectacle
2a : an arena often covered by a tent and used for variety shows usually including feats of physical skill, wild animal acts, and performances by clownsb : a circus performancec : the physical plant, livestock, and personnel of such a circusd : something suggestive of a circus (as in frenzied activity, sensationalism, theatricality, or razzle-dazzle) a media circus
circusyplay \-kə-sē\ adjective
Examples of circus in a sentence
He worked for a small circus.
We're going to the circus.
Origin and Etymology of circus
Middle English, from Latin, circle, circus — more at circle
First Known Use: 14th century
CIRCUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of circus for English Language Learners
: a traveling show that is often performed in a tent and that typically includes trained animals, clowns, acrobats, etc.
: a situation or event that is very busy, lively, and confusing and that attracts a lot of attention
: a circular area where several streets meet
CIRCUS Defined for Kids
Definition of circus for Students
: a traveling show that often takes place under a tent and that usually includes acts performed by acrobats, clowns, and trained animals
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up circus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).