• (RP) IPA: /ˈsɜːkəs/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈsɝkəs/

circus (plural circuses)

  1. A traveling company of performers that may include acrobats, clowns, trained animals, and other novelty acts, that gives shows usually in a circular tent. [from late 18th c.]
    The circus will be in town next week.
  2. A round open space in a town or city where multiple streets meet.
    Oxford Circus in London is at the north end of Regent Street.
  3. (figurative) A spectacle; a noisy fuss; a chaotic and/or crowded place.
    • 2009, Christine Brooks, A Quiet Village (page 81)
      The village would be turned into a circus over this. He groaned, it was just the sort of case the media had a field day over. He had to get the whole thing sorted fast before anyone got wind of it.
  4. (historical) In the ancient Roman Empire, a building for chariot racing.
  5. (military, World War II) A code name for bomber attacks with fighter escorts in the day time. The attacks were against short-range targets with the intention of occupying enemy fighters and keeping their fighter units in the area concerned.
    • []
      ... the squadron (No. 452) moved to Kenley in July 1941 and took part in the usual round of Circus, Rhubarb and Ramrod missions.
  6. (obsolete) Circuit; space; enclosure.
    • The narrow circus of my dungeon wall.
Related terms Translations Translations Verb

circus (circuses, present participle circusing; past and past participle circused)

  1. To take part in a circus; or to be displayed as if in a circus

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