archaic : circus
: a deep steep-walled basin on a mountain usually forming the blunt end of a valley

Illustration of cirque

Illustration of cirque
  • cirque 3

Examples of cirque in a Sentence

the harvest moon was a glowing cirque in autumn sky
Recent Examples on the Web In its early years, it was located smack in the middle of the grounds, a beaconing festival-goers with beats, cirque performances and the all-important misters. Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2024 Based on Sara Green’s 2006 bestseller, the show premiered last year at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre and elevates the musical to new and literal heights with its seamless integration of theatrical and cirque artistry. Frank Rizzo, Variety, 22 Mar. 2024 On Saturday, Madison Saltsburg, 20, fell roughly 600 feet down the Tuckerman Ravine, a glacial cirque on the southeast face of Mount Washington, according to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service. USA TODAY, 11 Mar. 2024 This cirque show combines acrobatic performance with the art of clowning while exploring fear, identity, recognition and power. Brittany Delay, The Mercury News, 27 Feb. 2024 Rainbow Basin: The Rainbow Basin Trail is 8 miles round trip with a steep elevation gain early on, followed by a dramatic descent into a glacial cirque dotted with shallow alpine lakes. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 They are born of rocks that fall from the walls of a cirque. Ned Rozell | Alaska Science, Anchorage Daily News, 29 July 2023 Rock glaciers are born of rocks that fall from the walls of a cirque — a bowl high in the mountains. Ned Rozell | Alaska Science, Anchorage Daily News, 22 July 2023 Thrill seekers can try heli-skiing, where they'll be dropped from a helicopter to explore more than 200 square miles of high alpine basins, cirques, and summits. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 16 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cirque.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from Latin circus

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cirque was in 1601

Dictionary Entries Near cirque

Cite this Entry

“Cirque.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a deep basin on a mountain that is shaped like half a bowl

French, from Latin circus "circle, arena"

More from Merriam-Webster on cirque

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