A circle is the round shape formed by all the points equidistant from a center point. This shape can be found everywhere, from the ring on your finger to the performance space in a circus (which sounds suspiciously similar, doesn’t it?).

The Greek word kirkos meant circle, but the word goes back even further to the Proto-Indo-European word kirk, which meant "to bend." The noun refers to that round shape, while the verb form means to move around or surround something. Are you going to knock on the door or just circle around the house all day? If you feel like you haven't been getting anywhere with something, you might say you're "going in circles."

Primary Meanings of circle

ellipse in which the two axes are of equal length; a plane curve generated by one point moving at a constant distance from a fixed point
move in circles
an unofficial association of people or groups
movement once around a course
travel around something
street names for flunitrazepan
Full Definitions of circle

n ellipse in which the two axes are of equal length; a plane curve generated by one point moving at a constant distance from a fixed point

“he calculated the circumference of the circle
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circle of curvature, osculating circle
the circle that touches a curve (on the concave side) and whose radius is the radius of curvature
a small circle
a circle dividing a sphere or other surface into two usually equal and symmetrical parts
a circle that rolls around (inside or outside) another circle; generates an epicycloid or hypocycloid
Type of:
ellipse, oval
a closed plane curve resulting from the intersection of a circular cone and a plane cutting completely through it

n something approximating the shape of a circle

“the chairs were arranged in a circle
Type of:
form, shape
the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance

n any circular or rotating mechanism

“the machine punched out metal circles
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disc, disk
a flat circular plate
acetate disk, phonograph recording disk
a disk coated with cellulose acetate
brake disk
a disk or plate that is fixed to the wheel; pressure is applied to it by the brake pads
(nautical) a round hardwood disk with holes and a grooved perimeter used to tighten a shroud
electro-acoustic transducer that vibrates to receive or produce sound waves
discus, saucer
a disk used in throwing competitions
a light, plastic disk about 10 inches in diameter; propelled with a flip of the wrist for recreation or competition
coin blank, planchet
a flat metal disk ready for stamping as a coin
hockey puck, puck
a vulcanized rubber disk 3 inches in diameter that is used instead of a ball in ice hockey
a metal or plastic disk that can be redeemed or used in designated slot machines
Type of:
rotating mechanism
a mechanism that rotates

n a road junction at which traffic streams circularly around a central island

rotary, roundabout, traffic circle
Type of:
the place where two or more things come together

n a curved section or tier of seats in a hall or theater or opera house; usually the first tier above the orchestra

“they had excellent seats in the dress circle
dress circle
Type of:
seating, seating area, seating room, seats
an area that includes places where several people can sit

v move in circles

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orb, orbit, revolve
move in an orbit
circulate, move around
fly loops, perform a loop
move in loops
move backward in an orbit, of celestial bodies
Type of:
go, locomote, move, travel
change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically

v form a circle around

Type of:
form, shape
give shape or form to

n an unofficial association of people or groups

band, lot, set
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car pool
a small group of car drivers who arrange to take turns driving while the others are passengers
camp, clique, coterie, ingroup, inner circle, pack
an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose
a band of warriors (originally a unit of a Roman Legion)
confederacy, conspiracy
a group of conspirators banded together to achieve some harmful or illegal purpose
Four Hundred
the exclusive social set of a city
horsey set, horsy set
a set of people sharing a devotion to horses and horseback riding and horse racing
jet set
a set of rich and fashionable people who travel widely for pleasure
company, party
a band of people associated temporarily in some activity
Bloomsbury Group
an inner circle of writers and artists and philosophers who lived in or around Bloomsbury early in the 20th century and were noted for their unconventional lifestyles
a group of artists and writers with real or pretended artistic or intellectual aspirations and usually an unconventional life style
brain trust, kitchen cabinet
an inner circle of unofficial advisors to the head of a government
an inner circle of advisors (especially under President Reagan)
cabal, camarilla, faction, junto
a clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue
junta, military junta
a group of military officers who rule a country after seizing power
maffia, mafia
any tightly knit group of trusted associates
faction, sect
a dissenting clique
fatigue party
a group of soldiers on fatigue duty
landing party
a part of a ship's company organized for special duties ashore
party to the action, party to the transaction
a party of people taking a role in legal proceedings
rescue party
a party of rescuers
search party
a party of people to search for someone
stretcher party
a party of people with stretchers to carry an injured person
war party
a band of warriors who raid or fight an enemy (used especially of Native Americans)
galere, rogue's gallery
a coterie of undesirable people
hard core
the most dedicated and intensely loyal nucleus of a group or movement
Type of:
social group
people sharing some social relation

n movement once around a course

circuit, lap
pace lap
the first lap of a car race that prepares the cars for a fast start
lap of honour, victory lap
a lap by the winning person or team run to celebrate the victory
Type of:
locomotion, travel
self-propelled movement

v travel around something

circle the globe”
circumambulate, walk around
walk around something
circumnavigate, compass
travel around, either by plane or ship
circle around, circle round, revolve around
move around in a circular motion
Type of:
go, locomote, move, travel
change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically

n street names for flunitrazepan

Mexican valium, R-2, forget me drug, roach, roofy, rope, rophy
Type of:
Rohypnol, flunitrazepan
a depressant and tranquilizer (trade name Rohypnol) often used in the commission of sexual assault; legally available in Europe and Mexico and Colombia

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