\ ˈsərk How to pronounce cirque (audio) \

Definition of cirque

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

Illustration of cirque

Illustration of cirque

cirque 3

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Synonyms for cirque


circle, ring, round, roundel

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Examples of cirque in a Sentence

the harvest moon was a glowing cirque in autumn sky

Recent Examples on the Web

The cirque has no name, nor do the peaks above, or the spurs radiating from the main ridge, the arêtes. Barry Lopez, Harper's magazine, "Polar Light," 10 Jan. 2019 Under the guidance of various instructors, members are able to explore cirque style fitness, acrobatics, and body balance. Vagney Bradley, Houston Chronicle, "Pole fitness offers patrons a different twist on exercise," 16 Jan. 2018 Teatro ZinZanni, the cirque/cabaret/comedy/dining company which long held court across the street from McCaw Hall, is taking its trapezes, chanteuses and multicourse meals to the Eastside. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Teatro ZinZanni finds new site to pitch its famous tent," 20 June 2017 The St. Paul group performs cirque nouveau — contemporary, theatrical circus — and was the first youth circus to recruit international professionals as coaches, according to Butler. S. M. Chavey, Twin Cities, "St. Paul’s Circus Juventas prepares for big Smithsonian shows," 15 June 2017 But not to be left out, below the cloudy peaks nestled up in a cirque is chilly Snow Lake. John Hopewell, Washington Post, "Cool off in these snow-capped mountains where summer never comes," 13 June 2017 The nouveau-cirque companies at this mini festival offer a wide cross-section of the genre as it is being practiced in the U.S. and abroad. The New Yorker, "“Circus Now”," 3 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cirque.' 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 cirque

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cirque

French, from Latin circus

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Dictionary Entries near cirque

cirl bunting







Statistics for cirque

Last Updated

1 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for cirque

The first known use of cirque was in 1601

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More from Merriam-Webster on cirque

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cirque

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cirque Encyclopedia article about cirque

Comments on cirque

What made you want to look up cirque? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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