from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A plane curve everywhere equidistant from a given fixed point, the center.
  • noun A planar region bounded by a circle.
  • noun Something, such as a ring, shaped like such a plane curve.
  • noun A circular or nearly circular course, circuit, or orbit.
  • noun A traffic circle.
  • noun A series or process that finishes at its starting point or continuously repeats itself; a cycle.
  • noun A group of people sharing an interest, activity, or achievement.
  • noun A territorial or administrative division, especially of a province, in some European countries.
  • noun A sphere of influence or interest; domain.
  • noun Logic A vicious circle.
  • intransitive verb To make or form a circle around.
  • intransitive verb To move in a circle around.
  • intransitive verb To move in a circle. synonym: turn.
  • idiom (circle the wagons) To take a defensive position; become defensive.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To encircle; encompass; surround; inclose.
  • To move around; revolve around.
  • To make to move in a circle or to revolve.
  • To move in a round or circle; circulate; revolve or turn circularly.
  • To form a circle; assume or have the form of a circle.
  • noun A bookbinders' wheel-shaped tool, having a design engraved on the rim or edge.
  • noun A circle of communicating arterioles on the sclerotic surrounding the optic nerve.
  • noun A ring of fibrocartilage which gives support to the auriculoventricular valve on each side of the heart. Also called circulus callosus Halleri.
  • noun The circumcircle of the triangle of similitude of three figures directly similar.
  • noun Second Lemoine circle. Same as cosine circle.
  • noun In gearing, the pitch-circle.
  • noun In surgery, the passage of chyme, after gastro-enterostomy, through the artificial opening into the intestine, and then its regurgitation, in consequence of antiperistaltic action, through the pylorus back into the stomach.
  • noun The mutually accelerating action of two independent but coexisting diseases.
  • noun In elementary geom., a plane figure whose periphery is everywhere equally distant from a point within it, the center; in modern geom., the periphery of such a figure; a circumference.
  • noun A circular formation or arrangement; a circlet; a ring: as, a circle of stones or of lights.
  • noun A round body; a sphere; an orb.
  • noun Circuit; course.
  • noun Compass; inclosure.
  • noun Something conceived as analogous to a circle; specifically, a number of persons intimately related to a central interest, person, or event; hence, a number of persons associated by any tie; a coterie; a set: as, a circle of ideas; to move in the higher circles of society; the circles of fashion; the family circle.
  • noun A series ending where it begins, and perpetually repeated.
  • noun A complete system, involving several subordinate divisions: as, the circle of the sciences.
  • noun Circumlocution; indirect form of speech.
  • noun In logic, an inconclusive form of argument, in which two or more unproved statements, or their equivalents, are used to prove each other: often called a vicious circle, or argument in a circle.
  • noun The English equivalent of the name given in some countries, as in Germany, to certain administrative divisions.
  • noun In astronomy and geodesy, a piece of metal or glass with lines engraved upon it so as to form graduations dividing the circumference of a circle into equal parts; hence, any instrument of which such a graduated circle forms the part that is most important or most difficult to make.
  • noun A small shuttle made in the form of a horseshoe, and moving in a circular path.
  • noun In geography, a small circle the plane of which is perpendicular to the axis of the earth; a circle of the globe parallel to the equator: more usually called a parallel of latitude.
  • noun A line showing the hour on a sun-dial.
  • noun A circle of declination: referred to as the two-hour circle, etc., especially as the six-hour circle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To move circularly; to form a circle; to circulate.
  • transitive verb To move around; to revolve around.
  • transitive verb To encompass, as by a circle; to surround; to inclose; to encircle.
  • transitive verb to confine; to hem in; to keep together; as, to circle bodies in.
  • noun A plane figure, bounded by a single curve line called its circumference, every part of which is equally distant from a point within it, called the center.
  • noun The line that bounds such a figure; a circumference; a ring.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English cercle, from Old French, from Latin circulus, diminutive of circus, circle, from Greek kirkos, krikos; see sker- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin circulus. Replaced Middle English cercle, from Old French cercle, from the same Latin source.


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  • _ A circle whose center moves around _upon_, or in, the circumference of another _circle_; as the orbit of the moon in its motion with the earth around the sun.

    Orthography As Outlined in the State Course of Study for Illinois Elmer W. Cavins

  • (STANDISH _places the chairs above and below the table in the circle, then the chair on the_ R. _side of the fireplace in the circle_.)

    The Thirteenth Chair Bayard Veiller 1906

  • (_Goes inside circle and sits down up_ C. _in circle_.)

    The Thirteenth Chair Bayard Veiller 1906

  • The main circle is bi-directional and each entrance has it's own unidirectional mini circle.

    bien Tijuaneado 2004

  • We need not imagine that Aristides meant the word circle literally.

    The Battle of Salamis Barry Strauss 2004

  • We need not imagine that Aristides meant the word circle literally.

    The Battle of Salamis Barry Strauss 2004

  • And in particular he singled out for comment the following question, which was one of those set, “Using the term circle as extending to the case where the radius is a pure imaginary, it is required to construct the common chord of two given circles.”

    Autobiography Airy, George Biddell, Sir 1896

  • My brother has relayed his circle is the same ... few hunt squirrels, and those that once did have put it to the side for deer, turkey, etc.

    What Happened to Squirrel Hunting? 2009

  • My brother has relayed his circle is the same ... few hunt squirrels, and those that once did have put it to the side for deer, turkey, etc.

    What Happened to Squirrel Hunting? 2009

  • This circle is a foundation for each of our lives.

    Archive 2008-10-01 Alice Walker Blog Administrator 2008

  • Smith suggests doing a ritual, one apparently dating back to medieval times, called a “Hazion circle” — “a wedding for impossible love.”

    Enter Planet Miranda July E. Alex Jung 2020


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  • a small ring

    June 19, 2007

  • a town in Alaska, USA

    February 26, 2008

  • "a round straight line with a hole in the middle."

    - anon.

    September 9, 2008

  • Holacracy is a comprehensively designed internal management system that has received significant attention for its adoption at Zappos, Medium, and other tech companies. Holacracy replaces the internal firm hierarchy with a governance process that looks, in many ways, like a constitutional democracy. However, holacracy has a nomenclature all its own. CEOs hand over their power to a system of governance “circles”--teams that are assigned specific management responsibilities. These teams have the power to design and refine corporate policy within their jurisdictions. There is no overarching hierarchy to make ultimate decisions or overrule teams; instead, there is generally one ultimate governance circle--representing the entire organization--that has the final authority. The circles manage the assignment of roles to workers and oversee their performance. Ultimately, holacracy is a combination of democratic republic, Quaker meetinghouse, and tech-speak: the system is structured to encourage participation by all employees in governance through a carefully designed set of roles and opportunities.
    Matthew T. Bodie, Holacracy and the Law, 42 Del. J. Corp. L. 621-22 (2018) (footnotes omitted)

    October 22, 2018