Meaning of CIRCLE in English


I. cir ‧ cle 1 S2 W2 /ˈsɜːk ə l $ ˈsɜːr-/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ circle , ↑ semicircle , ↑ circulation ; adjective : ↑ circular , ↑ semicircular , ↑ circulatory ; verb : ↑ circle , ↑ circulate ]

[ Date: 1000-1100 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: cercle , from Latin circulus , from circus ; ⇨ ↑ circus ]

1 . SHAPE a completely round shape, like the letter O:

Draw a circle 10 cm in diameter.

Cut the pastry into circles.

2 . ARRANGED IN A CIRCLE a group of people or things arranged in the shape of a circle:

The children stood round in a circle.

circle of

a circle of chairs

3 . GROUP OF PEOPLE a group of people who know each other and meet regularly, or who have similar interests or jobs

circle of

a circle of friends

political/legal/literary etc circles

He’s well-known in fashionable circles.

Johnson was part of the President’s inner circle (=the people who have the most influence) .

4 . THEATRE British English the upper floor of a theatre, that has seats arranged in curved rows SYN balcony American English

5 . go/run around in circles to think or argue about something without deciding anything or making progress

6 . come/go full circle ( also turn full circle British English ) to end in the same situation in which you began, even though there have been changes in the time in between:

Sooner or later, fashion comes full circle.

7 . (dark) circles under your eyes dark areas under your eyes that you have when you are very tired

⇨ square the circle at ↑ square 3 (5), ⇨ ↑ vicious circle

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ phrases

▪ a circle of friends

Over the years she had established a circle of good friends.

▪ a circle of acquaintances (=a group of people that someone knows)

She has a wide circle of acquaintances.

▪ a circle of admirers (=a group of people who admire someone)

When she was young, Sophie had a large circle of male admirers.


▪ academic/political/literary etc circles

There has been a lot of debate about this issue in political circles.

▪ a wide/large circle

They now had a wide circle of acquaintances in the area.

▪ a small/narrow circle

Ken was the centre of a small circle of artists and writers.

▪ sb’s inner circle (=the people who influence someone the most)

He was among the Prime Minister’s inner circle of advisers.

▪ a social circle

Dan and I didn’t mix in the same social circles.

▪ the family circle

It’s important for children to have friends outside the family circle.

▪ sb’s immediate circle (=your family and some close friends)

We didn’t tell anyone what had happened outside our immediate circle.

▪ a close circle (=in which the people know each other very well)

He cultivated a close circle of musical acquaintances.

▪ a close-knit/intimate circle (=a close one)

His intimate circle was tiny.

▪ a closed circle (=not open to other people)

He didn’t have much experience of life beyond the closed circle of his family.

▪ a limited circle

His writing was popular with a limited circle of enthusiasts.

■ verbs

▪ have a circle of friends/acquaintances etc

She was beautiful and had a wide circle of admirers.

▪ move/mix in a circle (=belong to a particular type of circle)

At Harvard he moved in scientific circles.

▪ be a member of a circle

He was a powerful member of a circle of financiers.

▪ widen your circle (=make it include more people)

In London she set about widening her circle.

▪ build up/establish a circle

Michael built up a wide circle of customers and friends worldwide.

• • •


■ types of shapes

▪ square a shape with four straight sides that are equal in length and four angles of 90 degrees

▪ circle a round shape that is like an O

▪ semicircle half a circle

▪ triangle a shape with three straight sides and three angles

▪ rectangle a shape with four straight sides and four angles of 90 degrees

▪ oval a shape like a circle, but that is longer than it is wide

▪ cylinder an object in the shape of a tube

▪ cube a solid object with six equal square sides

▪ pyramid a shape with a square base and four triangular sides that meet in a point at the top

▪ sphere a shape like a ball

II. circle 2 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ circle , ↑ semicircle , ↑ circulation ; adjective : ↑ circular , ↑ semicircular , ↑ circulatory ; verb : ↑ circle , ↑ circulate ]

1 . [transitive] to draw a circle around something:

Circle the correct answer.

2 . [intransitive and transitive] to move in the shape of a circle around something, especially in the air:

The plane circled the airport before landing.

circle round/above/over etc

The pigeons circled above the terrace.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.