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circle definition


This page has 21 definitions of circle in English. Circle is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use circle in a sentence are shown. Also define these 72 related words and terms: geometry, two-dimensional, geometric, figure, set, point, plane, distant, center, coil, ring, loop, disk, distance, radius, disc, round, thin, three-dimensional, equivalent, curve, form, group, interest, bunch, gang, parlour, tavern, repute, evening, however, brainless, gorged, dowager, jewel, sawdust, orbit, cricket, line, semicircle, wicket, parallel, pitch, enforce, field restrictions, one-day match, Wicca, cast, deosil, widdershins, wand, worship, traffic circle, roundabout, astronomy, graduated, itself, peasant, logic, argument, descend, circumlocution, territorial, division, bagginess, eye, sleep, travel, around, surround, place, and mark.

See also: Circle



From Middle English circle, cercle, from Old French cercle and Latin circulus, diminutive of Latin circus (circle, circus), from Ancient Greek κίρκος (kírkos, circle, ring), related to Old English hring (ring). Compare also Old English ċircul (circle, zodiac), which came from the same Latin source.



A (geometrical) circle
A group of people forming a circle

circle (plural circles)

  1. (geometry) A two-dimensional geometric figure, a line, consisting of the set of all those points in a plane that are equally distant from a given point (center).
    Synonyms: (not in mathematical use) coil, (not in mathematical use) ring, (not in mathematical use) loop
    The set of all points (x, y) such that (x − 1)2 + y2 = r2 is a circle of radius r around the point (1, 0).
    • Plane definition
      Of a surface: flat or level.
  2. A two-dimensional geometric figure, a disk, consisting of the set of all those points of a plane at a distance less than or equal to a fixed distance (radius) from a given point.
    Synonyms: disc, (in mathematical and general use) disk, (not in mathematical use; UK & Commonwealth only) round
  3. Any shape, curve or arrangement of objects that approximates to or resembles the geometric figures.
    Children, please join hands and form a circle.
    1. Any thin three-dimensional equivalent of the geometric figures.
      Cut a circle out of that sheet of metal.
    2. A curve that more or less forms part or all of a circle.
      The crank moves in a circle.
    • Form definition
      To do with shape.
      1. The shape or visible structure of a thing or person.
      2. A thing that gives shape to other things as in a mold.
      3. Regularity, beauty, or elegance.
      4. The inherent nature of an object; that which the mind itself contributes as the condition of knowing; that in which the essence of a thing consists.
      5. Characteristics not involving atomic components. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
      6. A long bench with no back.
      7. The boundary line of a material object. In painting, more generally, the human body.
      8. The combination of planes included under a general crystallographic symbol. It is not necessarily a closed solid.
      (1 of 27 form definitions)
  4. A specific group of persons; especially one who shares a common interest.
    Synonyms: bunch, gang, group
    inner circle
    circle of friends
    literary circle
    • Repute definition
      Reputation, especially a good reputation.
    • Sawdust definition
      The fine particles (dust) of wood created by sawing.
  5. The orbit of an astronomical body.
  6. (cricket) A line comprising two semicircles of 30 yards radius centred on the wickets joined by straight lines parallel to the pitch used to enforce field restrictions in a one-day match.
  7. (Wicca) A ritual circle that is cast three times deosil and closes three times widdershins either in the air with a wand or literally with stones or other items used for worship.
    • Wicca definition
      A neopagan religion that was first popularized by books written in 1949, 1954, and 1959 by Englishman Gerald Gardner, involving the worship of a horned male god and a moon goddess, the observance of eight Sabbats, and the performance of various rituals.
    • Deosil definition
      Alternative spelling of deasil
    • Widdershins definition
      The wrong way. (1 of 2 widdershins definitions)
    • Wand definition
      A hand-held narrow rod, usually used for pointing or instructing, or as a traditional emblem of authority. (1 of 5 wand definitions)
  8. (South Africa) A traffic circle or roundabout.
    • 2011, Charles E. Webb, Downfall and Freedom, page 120:
      He arrived at the lakefront and drove around the circle where the amusement park and beach used to be when he was a kid []
  9. (obsolete) Compass; circuit; enclosure.
  10. (astronomy) An instrument of observation, whose graduated limb consists of an entire circle. When fixed to a wall in an observatory, it is called a mural circle; when mounted with a telescope on an axis and in Y's, in the plane of the meridian, a meridian or transit circle; when involving the principle of reflection, like the sextant, a reflecting circle; and when that of repeating an angle several times continuously along the graduated limb, a repeating circle.
    • Graduated definition
      simple past tense and past participle of graduate
  11. A series ending where it begins, and repeating itself.
    • Itself definition
      it; A thing as the object of a verb or preposition that also appears as the subject (1 of 3 itself definitions)
  12. (logic) A form of argument in which two or more unproved statements are used to prove each other; inconclusive reasoning.
    • 1661, Joseph Glanvill, The Vanity of Dogmatizing
      That heavy bodies descend by gravity; and, again, that gravity is a quality whereby a heavy body descends, is an impertinent circle and teaches nothing.
    • Descend definition
      To pass from a higher to a lower place; to move downwards; to come or go down in any way, for example by falling, flowing, walking, climbing etc. (1 of 11 descend definitions)
  13. Indirect form of words; circumlocution.
  14. A territorial division or district.
    The ten Circles of the Holy Roman Empire were those principalities or provinces which had seats in the German Diet.
  15. (in the plural) A bagginess of the skin below the eyes from lack of sleep.
    After working all night, she had circles under her eyes.
    • Bagginess definition
      The characteristic of being baggy.

Derived terms

Related terms


  • Pitcairn-Norfolk: sirkil


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


circle (third-person singular simple present circles, present participle circling, simple past and past participle circled)

  1. (transitive) To travel around along a curved path.
    The wolves circled the herd of deer.
    • Travel definition
      To be on a journey, often for pleasure or business and with luggage; to go from one place to another. (1 of 6 travel definitions)
  2. (transitive) To surround.
    A high fence circles the enclosure.
  3. (transitive) To place or mark a circle around.
    Circle the jobs that you are interested in applying for.
    • Mark definition
      Boundary, land within a boundary.
      1. A boundary; a border or frontier.
      2. A boundary-post or fence.
      3. A stone or post used to indicate position and guide travellers.
      4. A type of small region or principality.
      5. A common, or area of common land, especially among early Germanic peoples.
      (1 of 35 mark definitions)
  4. (intransitive) To travel in circles.
    Vultures circled overhead.

Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.