Meaning of circle

cir•cle

Pronunciation: (sûr'kul), [key]
— n., v., -cled, -cling.
—n.
  1. a closed plane curve consisting of all points at a given distance from a point within it called the center. Equation: + y = r. x
  2. the portion of a plane bounded by such a curve.
  3. any circular or ringlike object, formation, or arrangement: a circle of dancers.
  4. a ring, circlet, or crown.
  5. the ring of a circus.
  6. a section of seats in a theater: dress circle.
  7. the area within which something acts, exerts influence, etc.; realm; sphere: A politician has a wide circle of influence.
  8. a series ending where it began, esp. when perpetually repeated; cycle: the circle of the year.
  9. an argument ostensibly proving a conclusion but actually assuming the conclusion or its equivalent as a premise; vicious circle.
  10. a complete series forming a connected whole; cycle: the circle of the sciences.
  11. a number of persons bound by a common tie; coterie: a literary circle; a family circle.
  12. an administrative division, esp. of a province.
  13. a parallel of latitude.
    1. (formerly) the orbit of a heavenly body.
    2. Seemeridian circle.
  14. 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.
  15. a sphere or orb: the circle of the earth.
  16. a ring of light in the sky; halo.
—v.t.
  1. to enclose in a circle; surround; encircle: Circle the correct answer on the exam paper. The enemy circled the hill.
  2. to move in a circle or circuit around; rotate or revolve around: He circled the house cautiously.
  3. to change course so as to pass by or avoid collision with; bypass; evade: The ship carefully circled the iceberg.
  4. The company has circled the wagons since its market share began to decline.
    1. (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.
    2. Slang.to prepare for an all-out, unaided defensive fight:The company has circled the wagons since its market share began to decline.
—v.i.
  1. to move in a circle or circuit: The plane circled for half an hour before landing.
  2. to iris (usually fol. by in or out).
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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