see also: Circle
  • enPR: sûrʹ-kəl, IPA: /ˈsɜɹkəl/
    • (British) IPA: [ˈsɜː.kəɫ]
    • (America) IPA: [ˈsɝ.kəɫ]

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: coil, ring, 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).
  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, disk, 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.
  4. A specific group of persons; especially one who shares a common interest.
    Synonyms: bunch, gang, group
    inner circle
    circle of friends
    literary circle
    • 1911, Thomas Babington Macaulay, “[,_Oliver Goldsmith, Oliver]”, in 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica:
      As his name gradually became known, the circle of his acquaintance widened.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
      At half-past nine on this Saturday evening, the parlour of the Salutation Inn, High Holborn, contained most of its customary visitors. […] In former days every tavern of repute kept such a room for its own select circle, a club, or society, of habitués, who met every evening, for a pipe and a cheerful glass.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter VI, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326 ↗:
      “I don't mean all of your friends—only a small proportion—which, however, connects your circle with that deadly, idle, brainless bunch—the insolent chatterers at the opera, the gorged dowagers, […], the jewelled animals whose moral code is the code of the barnyard—!"
    • 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
      The Rabbit could not claim to be a model of anything, for he didn’t know that real rabbits existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust like himself, and he understood that sawdust was quite out-of-date and should never be mentioned in modern circles.
  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.
  8. (South Africa) A traffic circle or roundabout.
  9. (obsolete) Compass; circuit; enclosure.
    • c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene iv]:
      in the circle of this forest
  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.
  11. A series ending where it begins, and repeating itself.
    • Thus in a circle runs the peasant's pain.
  12. (logic) A form of argument in which two or more unproved statements are used to prove each other; inconclusive reasoning.
    • 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.
  13. Indirect form of words; circumlocution.
    • Has he given the lie, / In circle, or oblique, or semicircle.
  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.
Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

circle (circles, present participle circling; past and past participle circled)

  1. (transitive) To travel around along a curved path.
    The wolves circled the herd of deer.
    • 1733, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. […], (please specify ), London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, […], OCLC 960856019 ↗:
  2. (transitive) To surround.
    A high fence circles the enclosure.
    • Their heads are circled with a short turban.
    • So he lies, circled with evil.
  3. (transitive) To place or mark a circle around.
    Circle the jobs that you are interested in applying for.
  4. (intransitive) To travel in circles.
    Vultures circled overhead.
Translations Translations Translations Translations
Proper noun
  1. CDP in Yukon-Koyukuk, Alaska. Erroneously thought to be on the Arctic Circle, which is 50 miles further north.
  2. A town/county seat in McCone County, Montana. Named after a cattle brand in the form of a circle.
  3. the Circle line (London Underground) of the London Underground, originally the Inner Circle.

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