three-ring circus


: a circus with simultaneous performances in three rings
: something wild, confusing, engrossing, or entertaining

Examples of three-ring circus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Democrats, who slammed the impeachment inquiry as a political stunt, described the Republican conference as a three-ring circus. Marianna Sotomayor, Leigh Ann Caldwell, Amy B Wang, Jacqueline Alemany, The Washington Post, Anchorage Daily News, 15 Sep. 2023 Life gets serious enough, after all—as does Facebook, what with the constant political brawling, and let's not even get started on the total three-ring circus Twitter has turned into lately. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, 17 July 2023 Not to mention that Taylor’s productions are like three-ring circuses. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 30 June 2023 It's always been at once an alternative to politics as usual and an intensification of what politics as usual has been drifting toward for a long time now: a gaudy spectacle that's equal parts entertainment, fantasy, fraud, and three-ring circus performed before mutually exclusive cheering mobs. Damon Linker, TheWeek, 4 Dec. 2020 As of right now, Zipolite is less accessible than other popular Mexican beach destinations — than, say, the three-ring circus that has subsumed Cancún. Jenna Wortham, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2023 Indeed, the three-ring circus (the packed venues, rows of photographers crowding street corners, and heavy traffic) often associated with New York Fashion Week will presumably be absent. Barry Samaha, Harper's BAZAAR, 27 Aug. 2020 Feld shut down the three-ring circus in 2017 after a 146-year run. Jay Handelman, USA TODAY, 18 May 2022 But a general decline in newspaper readership and the recession of the 1990s, followed by a three-ring circus of corporate leadership at The Times, would be the undoing of the paper’s Orange County edition. Los Angeles Times, 26 Apr. 2022

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

Word History

First Known Use

1902, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of three-ring circus was in 1902

Dictionary Entries Near three-ring circus

Cite this Entry

“Three-ring circus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

three-ring circus

: a circus with performances occurring in three different rings at the same time
: something wild, confusing, or chaotic
five activities at one time turned the classroom into a three-ring circus
: something made into a spectacle
the actor's court appearance became a three-ring circus
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