[sur-kyuh-ley-shuh n]



    in circulation, participating actively in social or business life: After a month in the hospital, he's back in circulation.

Origin of circulation

1400–50 for an earlier alchemical sense; 1645–55 for def 1; late Middle English circulacioun < Latin circulātiōn- (stem of circulātiō), equivalent to circulāt(us) (see circulate) + -iōn- -ion
Related formscir·cu·la·ble [sur-kyuh-luh-buh l] /ˈsɜr kyə lə bəl/, adjectivein·ter·cir·cu·la·tion, nounnon·cir·cu·la·tion, nounpre·cir·cu·la·tion, nounre·cir·cu·la·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for circulation

Contemporary Examples of circulation

Historical Examples of circulation

  • Now we have no longer barriers to the circulation of the blood of States.

  • It is my belief that our present circulation will be increased forty per cent.

  • He rubbed his arms and legs to restore the circulation, and started to leave the building.

  • They have a tremendous circulation, it is true, but it is not the kind of circulation we have.

  • By-and-by we got out and kicked trees to start the circulation.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for circulation



the transport of oxygenated blood through the arteries to the capillaries, where it nourishes the tissues, and the return of oxygen-depleted blood through the veins to the heart, where the cycle is renewed
the flow of sap through a plant
any movement through a closed circuit
the spreading or transmission of something to a wider group of people or area
(of air and water) free movement within an area or volume
  1. the distribution of newspapers, magazines, etc
  2. the number of copies of an issue of such a publication that are distributed
library science
  1. a book loan, as from a library lending department
  2. each loan transaction of a particular book
  3. the total issue of library books over a specified period
a rare term for circulating medium
in circulation
  1. (of currency) serving as a medium of exchange
  2. (of people) active in a social or business context
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for circulation

mid-15c., from Middle French circulation or directly from Latin circulationem (nominative circulatio), noun of action from past participle stem of circulare "to form a circle," from circulus "small ring" (see circle (n.)). Used of blood first by William Harvey, 1620s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

circulation in Medicine




Movement in a circle or circuit, especially the movement of blood through bodily vessels as a result of the heart's pumping action.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

circulation in Science



The flow of fluid, especially blood, through the tissues of an organism to allow for the transport and exchange of blood gases, nutrients, and waste products. In vertebrates, the circulation of blood to the tissues and back to the heart is caused by the pumping action of the heart. Oxygen-rich blood is carried away from the heart by the arteries, and oxygen-poor blood is returned to the heart by the veins. The circulation of lymph occurs in a separate system of vessels (the lymphatic system). Lymph is pumped back to the heart by the contraction of skeletal muscles.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with circulation


see in circulation; out of circulation.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.