circles; circling; circled

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."

Definitions of circle
  1. noun
    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
  2. noun
    something approximating the shape of a circle
    “the chairs were arranged in a circle
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    type of:
    form, shape
    the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance
  3. noun
    any circular or rotating mechanism
    “the machine punched out metal circles
    synonyms: round
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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
  4. noun
    a road junction at which traffic streams circularly around a central island
    synonyms: rotary, roundabout, traffic circle
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    type of:
    the place where two or more things come together
  5. noun
    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
    synonyms: dress circle
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    type of:
    seating, seating area, seating room, seats
    an area that includes places where several people can sit
  6. verb
    move in circles
    synonyms: circulate
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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
  7. verb
    form a circle around
    synonyms: encircle
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    type of:
    form, shape
    give shape or form to
  8. noun
    an unofficial association of people or groups
    synonyms: 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
  9. noun
    movement once around a course
    synonyms: circuit, lap
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    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
  10. verb
    travel around something
    circle the globe”
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    circumambulate, walk around
    walk around something
    circumnavigate, compass
    travel completely around something, especially by ship or plane
    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
  11. noun
    street names for flunitrazepan
    synonyms: Mexican valium, R-2, forget me drug, roach, roofy, rope, rophy
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    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
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘circle'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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