noun, often attributive
cir·​cuit | \ ˈsər-kət How to pronounce circuit (audio) \

Definition of circuit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a usually circular line encompassing an area a swamp about 10 miles in circuit
b : the space enclosed within such a line the circuit of the duke's land
2a : a course around a periphery the periodic circuit of the Earth around the Sun
b : a circuitous or indirect route The damaged bridge forced him to take a long circuit to his destination.
3a : a regular tour (as by a traveling judge or preacher) around an assigned district or territory The preacher ministered to each congregation in his circuit.
b : the route traveled His circuit took him to many towns in the county.
c : a group of church congregations ministered to by one pastor
4a : the complete path of an electric current including usually the source of electric energy
b : an assemblage of electronic elements : hookup
c : a two-way communication path between points (as in a computer)
d : a neuronal pathway of the brain along which electrical and chemical signals travel
5a : an association of similar groups : league
b : a number or series of public outlets (such as theaters, radio shows, or arenas) offering the same kind of presentation He loved competing on the rodeo circuit. She rose through the theater circuit to become a big-time entertainer.
c : a number of similar social gatherings the cocktail circuit


circuited; circuiting; circuits

Definition of circuit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make a circuit about a route that circuits the Back Bay section of the city

intransitive verb

: to make a circuit Potential buyers circuited around the boatyard.

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Other Words from circuit


circuital \ ˈsər-​kə-​tᵊl How to pronounce circuit (audio) \ adjective

Examples of circuit in a Sentence

Noun It takes a year for the Earth to make one circuit around the sun. Verb after circuiting the exterior of the church, the procession headed inside
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Various circuit courts have ruled inconsistently on the issue. Peter J Reilly, Forbes, 7 Sep. 2021 An increasing number of circuit courts have ruled in favor of transgender students in similar cases. NBC News, 27 Aug. 2021 Most litigation begins in circuit courts, but there is little time for appeals in this case because new maps must be ready in time for next year's elections. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Aug. 2021 Martin is a writer on social-justice issues who is in demand on the college-lecture circuit. Danzy Senna, The Atlantic, 3 Aug. 2021 Indeed, his later years are especially colorful, as Gregory -- who died in 2017 -- found his way back to the standup stage, having used those skills for years in other venues such as the college-lecture circuit. Brian Lowry, CNN, 1 July 2021 The 1619 Project’s lead author, Nikole Hannah-Jones, won a Pulitzer Prize and quickly hit the lecture circuit. Tom Cotton, National Review, 30 June 2021 With book advances pulverized by Amazon and freelance rates decimated by Google and Facebook (not to mention non-subscribing web readers), authors hit the lecture circuit. William Deresiewicz, Harper's Magazine, 25 May 2021 After six years on the lecture circuit, often calling for rigorous academic standards, Mr. Clark resurfaced as the director of the Essex County Youth Detention Center in Newark. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, 30 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The company also received complaints that static electricity could short-circuit its devices. Neil Bedi, ProPublica, 7 Aug. 2021 This build-up, known as lithium dendrite, can short-circuit the battery and shorten its life. University Of Houston Energy Fellows, Forbes, 14 June 2021 That will short-circuit an offense’s ability to put early pressure on opponents. Evan Grant, Dallas News, 7 June 2021 The surge, however, didn't short-circuit his hardwiring. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, 8 May 2021 After a transfer hearing last week, Limestone County Juvenile Judge Matthew Huggins ordered the case to be transferred to circuit criminal court for prosecution and bound over to a grand jury. al, 12 Nov. 2020 Eventually, these eleven words could underlie the next generation of arms control negotiations, strengthen the global nonproliferation regime, and help short-circuit a second nuclear arms race. Jessica T. Mathews, The New York Review of Books, 22 July 2020 The sport took a hit when the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation canceled the 2020 TAAF Summer Games of Texas, leading to regional and circuit swim cancellations, according to an email from the Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium that hosts Allen’s swim team. Reese Oxner, Dallas News, 2 June 2020 Obviously a collision can't compromise the integrity of the pack itself, because lithium-ion cells don't react well to being short-circuited. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 31 Mar. 2020

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for circuit

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French circuite, from Latin circuitus, from circumire, circuire to go around, from circum- + ire to go — more at issue entry 1

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Time Traveler for circuit

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near circuit



circuital field

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Statistics for circuit

Last Updated

18 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Circuit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for circuit



English Language Learners Definition of circuit

: a series of performances, sports events, lectures, etc., that are held or done at many different places
: a path or trip around something
: the complete path that an electric current travels along


cir·​cuit | \ ˈsər-kət How to pronounce circuit (audio) \

Kids Definition of circuit

1 : a boundary line around an area
2 : an enclosed space
3 : movement around something The earth makes a circuit around the sun.
4 : a regular tour of service (as by a judge) around an assigned territory : a course so traveled
5 : a series of performances, competitions, or appearances held at many different places the pro tennis circuit
6 : the complete path of an electric current
7 : a group of electronic parts


cir·​cuit | \ ˈsər-kət How to pronounce circuit (audio) \

Medical Definition of circuit

1 : the complete path of an electric current including usually the source of electric energy
2 : a neuronal pathway of the brain along which electrical and chemical signals travel … the neurons in this brain circuit communicate using the chemical messenger dopamine.— Helen Fisher, The Wall Street Journal, 13 Feb. 2004

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Legal Definition of circuit

1a : a route formerly taken by traveling judges
b : a district established within a state or the federal judicial system
2 capitalized : the court of appeals for a circuit in the federal judicial system after the 9th Circuit's ruling— V. M. Sher

More from Merriam-Webster on circuit

Nglish: Translation of circuit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of circuit for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about circuit


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