- a closed plane curve consisting of all points at a given distance from a point within it called the center. Equation: x2 + y2 = r2.
- the portion of a plane bounded by such a curve.
- any circular or ringlike object, formation, or arrangement: a circle of dancers.
- a ring, circlet, or crown.
- the ring of a circus.
- a section of seats in a theater: dress circle.
- the area within which something acts, exerts influence, etc.; realm; sphere: A politician has a wide circle of influence.
- a series ending where it began, especially when perpetually repeated; cycle: the circle of the year.
- Logic. an argument ostensibly proving a conclusion but actually assuming the conclusion or its equivalent as a premise; vicious circle.
- a complete series forming a connected whole; cycle: the circle of the sciences.
- a number of persons bound by a common tie; coterie: a literary circle; a family circle.
- Government. an administrative division, especially of a province.
- Geography. a parallel of latitude.
- (formerly) the orbit of a heavenly body.
- meridian circle.
- Surveying. a glass or metal disk mounted concentrically with the spindle of a theodolite or level and graduated so that the angle at which the alidade is set may be read.
- a sphere or orb: the circle of the earth.
- a ring of light in the sky; halo.
- to enclose in a circle; surround; encircle: Circle the correct answer on the exam paper. The enemy circled the hill.
- to move in a circle or circuit around; rotate or revolve around: He circled the house cautiously.
- to change course so as to pass by or avoid collision with; bypass; evade: The ship carefully circled the iceberg.
- to move in a circle or circuit: The plane circled for half an hour before landing.
- Movies, Television. to iris (usually followed by in or out).
- circle the wagons,
- (in the early U.S. West) to form the wagons of a covered-wagon train into a circle for defensive purposes, as against Indian attack.
- Slang.to prepare for an all-out, unaided defensive fight: The company has circled the wagons since its market share began to decline.
Origin of circle
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for circling
The whir of the circling NYPD helicopter muffled their chants calling for unity and calling out police brutality.Protesters Demand Justice For Gurley As Gap Grows Between Cops and NYC
December 28, 2014
They envisioned warriors lost in battle, and women who died in childbirth, as honored spirits, circling the sun like hummingbirds.New Orleans’ Carnivalesque Day of the Dead
November 1, 2014
Congressional Republicans have been circling ever since like sharks trying to get at bloody meat.This Sexy Thriller Is Just the Document the Benghazi Commission Needs
September 15, 2014
At one point, John Woo was circling to direct it, but then the big divorce happened with Miramax and Disney, and it went away.Kevin Smith's Marijuanaissance: On 'Tusk,' 'Falling Out' with Ben Affleck, and 20 Years of 'Clerks'
September 9, 2014
Even gay conservatives and contrarians are circling, licking their chops.In Gay Rights Fights, Bullies Love to Play the Victim
April 4, 2014
He ran a short distance away from us, circling our cavalcade.A Woman Tenderfoot
Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
Eudorus was up immediately and was circling around and around again.Buried Cities, Part 2
Grant hesitated, circling erratically with his victim close to the steps.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
They were circling the white mountain, ascending its lower slope.Two Thousand Miles Below
Charles Willard Diffin
It was proceeding slowly and seemed to be circling about us without approaching.The Flood
- maths a closed plane curve every point of which is equidistant from a given fixed point, the centre. Equation: (x –h)² + (y –k)² = r ² where r is the radius and (h, k) are the coordinates of the centre; area πr²; circumference: 2π r
- the figure enclosed by such a curve
- theatre the section of seats above the main level of the auditorium, usually comprising the dress circle and the upper circle
- something formed or arranged in the shape of a circle
- a group of people sharing an interest, activity, upbringing, etc; setgolf circles; a family circle
- a domain or area of activity, interest, or influence
- a circuit
- a process or chain of events or parts that forms a connected whole; cycle
- a parallel of latitudeSee also great circle, small circle
- the ring of a circus
- one of a number of Neolithic or Bronze Age rings of standing stones, such as Stonehenge, found in Europe and thought to be associated with some form of ritual or astronomical measurement
- hockey See striking circle
- a circular argumentSee vicious circle (def. 2)
- come full circle to arrive back at one's starting pointSee also vicious circle
- go round in circles or run round in circles to engage in energetic but fruitless activity
- to move in a circle (around)we circled the city by car
- (tr) to enclose in a circle; encircle
Word Origin and History for circling
c.1300, "figure of a circle," from Old French cercle "circle, ring (for the finger); hoop of a helmet or barrel" (12c.), from Latin circulus "circular figure; small ring, hoop; circular orbit" (also source of Italian cerchio), diminutive of circus "ring" (see circus).
Replaced Old English trendel and hring. Late Old English used circul, from Latin, but only in an astronomical sense. Meaning "group of persons surrounding a center of interest" is from 1714 (it also was a secondary sense of Latin circulus); that of "coterie" is from 1640s (a sense also found in Latin circulus). To come full circle is in Shakespeare.
late 14c., cerclen, "to shape like a globe," also "to encompass or surround," from circle (n.). From c.1400 as "to set in a circular pattern;" mid-15c. as "to move in a circle." Related: Circled; circling. To circle the wagons, figuratively, "assume an alert defensive stance" is from 1969, from old Western movies.
- A ring-shaped structure or group of structures.
- A line or process with every point equidistant from the center.
- A closed curve whose points are all on the same plane and at the same distance from a fixed point (the center).
Idioms and Phrases with circling
see full circle; go around (in circles); run around (in circles); run rings (circles) around; vicious circle.