a. A plane curve everywhere equidistant from a given fixed point, the center.
b. A planar region bounded by a circle.
c. Something, such as a ring, shaped like such a plane curve.
2. A circular or nearly circular course, circuit, or orbit:a satellite's circle around the earth.
3. A traffic circle.
4. A series or process that finishes at its starting point or continuously repeats itself; a cycle.
5. A group of people sharing an interest, activity, or achievement:well-known in artistic circles.
6. A territorial or administrative division, especially of a province, in some European countries.
7. A sphere of influence or interest; domain.
8. Logic A vicious circle.
v.cir·cled, cir·cling, cir·cles
1. To make or form a circle around:The hedge circles the fountain.
2. To move in a circle around:The ship circled the island.
To move in a circle. See Synonyms at turn.
circle the wagons
To take a defensive position; become defensive.
[Middle Englishcercle, fromOld French, fromLatincirculus, diminutive ofcircus, circle, fromGreekkirkos, krikos; see sker-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.