Definition of circular in English:



  • 1Having the form of a circle.

    ‘the building features a circular atrium’
    • ‘One of the show homes features a circular staircase and upstairs gallery.’
    • ‘Most Iranian intersections have a large circular island in the middle.’
    • ‘With old stone collected from derelict cottages on the edge of the village they built a circular garden.’
    • ‘The pendant was circular, and within the circle was a tree with a sun in the corner.’
    • ‘My first new belt in about seven years was a hand-painted creation with two rows of large circular holes running all the way round it.’
    • ‘A circular brick island rises up in the centre of the roundabout.’
    • ‘My front garden is terraced with a paved circle, in the middle of which is a circular bed.’
    • ‘Recent donations include the purchase of picnic tables, a circular seat round the willow tree by the lake, and benches in the park.’
    • ‘A series of circular markers bearing Ralph's Cross, the park's symbol, have gone missing in recent weeks.’
    • ‘Its outer circular wall was transformed internally into a square.’
    • ‘Iranian leaders wear black or white turbans wrapped in a flat, circular style.’
    • ‘Other churches worth visiting include the splendid cathedral and the beautiful baroque circular church of St Clemens, built between 1745 and 1753.’
    • ‘Its circular shape invokes the tradition of associating circles with regeneration and wholeness.’
    • ‘Surrounding the circle will be a circular grass mound, carpeted in bluebells.’
    • ‘The restaurant's gimmick is a circular aquarium, behind 10 ft-high glass surrounding diners.’
    • ‘From now on, pizza will just be a circular abomination we order out of desperation, when there isn't time to make anything good.’
    • ‘Bottle labels, stationery, pump clips and exterior hotel signage feature a new circular design.’
    • ‘It had a circular driveway, and in the center was a small circle of grass with several beautiful rose bushes growing on it.’
    • ‘The centrepiece of the large interior is a circular bar, presumably there to make it possible to have a drink while waiting for a table.’
    • ‘The most striking design element of the atrium is the circular stair that turns 180 degrees between floors.’
    round, disc-shaped, disc-like
    ring-shaped, hoop-shaped, hoop-like, annular
    cycloidal, discoid, discoidal
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a movement or journey) starting and finishing at the same place and often following roughly the circumference of an imaginary circle.
      ‘a circular walk’
      • ‘The overall look of the Cuban salsa should be sensuous and fluid, with the dancers moving around each other and the floor in circular movements.’
      • ‘This last leg in our circular walk takes us across his farm.’
      • ‘Apply to the skin in circular movements paying particular attention to your knees, feet and elbows or any dry patches.’
      • ‘You should be making circular motions with your index fingers round your temples.’
      • ‘He said that he was interested in learning the circular movements of aikido.’
      • ‘For him, the journey of his young adulthood was a futile circular movement.’
      • ‘What should be a 10 minute walk from their home to a nearby park has turned into an hour-long three-mile circular hike.’
      • ‘The longest circular route may take more than two-and-a-half hours.’
      • ‘He said there should also be a circular walk giving greater access to the riverside.’
      • ‘It has recommended a string of proposals, including a new circular bus service in the area.’
      • ‘We explored the mountains on a circular tour, walking every other day to a new camp.’
      • ‘She followed the perpetually circular movement of the revolving doors, stepping out onto Kyanka Street.’
      • ‘The company also removed its 651 and 647 buses which used to run in a circular route.’
      • ‘I took me just short of six hours to complete the circular route back into Middlesmoor.’
      • ‘Orbits not being exactly circular, the minimum distances can range from 56 million km to 101 million km.’
      • ‘The biting surfaces of the teeth should be brushed in circular motion.’
      • ‘The local Rangers attempt to cram as much of the area into a 10 km jaunt as they can, with a circular walk to Carbeth.’
      • ‘The narrative is quite circular, in that the first and final scenes are very similar.’
      • ‘Round and round she went, her circular flightpath growing ever bigger.’
      • ‘The five-mile sponsored walk will take a circular route between Baildon Moor and Faweather Grange on Ilkley Moor.’
  • 2Logic
    (of an argument) already containing an assumption of what is to be proved, and therefore fallacious.

    ‘the reality of standard English rests on the circular argument that that is good which good users use’
    • ‘This is a circular argument: we read into the historical record what we want to see clearly.’
    • ‘This argument clearly is circular, because science is to tell us what is to be considered legitimate science.’
    • ‘This is a classic circular argument, in which the conclusion is already present in the premise.’
    • ‘These estimates can be highly biased and produce a circular argument.’
    • ‘Such a circular argument, which relies on its own suppositions as proof, can be used to justify anything.’
  • 3[attributive] (of a letter or advertisement) for distribution to a large number of people.

    ‘a circular letter was sent asking for support’
    • ‘He put the circular letter in the rubbish bin.’
    • ‘A circular letter was then sent by post to all past and present serving members.’
    • ‘Further investigations revealed the powder was coming from an A4 size envelope containing a circular leaflet.’
    • ‘He sent a circular letter to numerous legal practices in Scotland, asking various questions about the firms' knowledge of him.’
    • ‘Other workers got phone calls from colleagues or discovered a circular letter informing them of the closedown.’
    • ‘The vision was made concrete in a circular letter, addressed to EU partners.’
    • ‘Regular visitors may remember my organisation's facilities team who recently sent a circular email to over 200 people because a paper napkin had gone missing.’
    • ‘This can function as a circular letter to people who want to know what I'm up to, although I don't write it for that reason.’
    • ‘This is the same facilities team who refused to send a circular email when my car was dented in the office car park!’
    • ‘Rules for adoption had been set out in a circular letter which was received by the applicants.’
    • ‘Jung issued a circular letter to all members firmly stating the principle that The International Society is neutral as to politics and creed.’


  • A letter or advertisement which is distributed to a large number of people.

    ‘I received a circular from a building society’
    • ‘A circular has been distributed to all homes in the town offering various novel ideas on how to support the project.’
    • ‘Anyone who knows me well will know how much I loathe email circulars and chain letters.’
    • ‘Below is an email that was sent as a circular around the entire university email system, proving just how mush of an important issue parking is!’
    • ‘The full extent of FIFA's stance was revealed in a circular sent out yesterday to all national associations and will apply immediately.’
    • ‘It has sent a circular asking residents to give their opinion on what sort of development they want to see on the site.’
    • ‘A circular was sent to every household in the parish after the failed meetings.’
    • ‘The Monetary Authority sent banks a circular recommending they use a second type of identification to protect customers using Internet banking transactions.’
    • ‘We sent a circular to the shopowners asking them not to park their cars on Brigade Road.’
    • ‘A circular was sent out to union members, instructing them not to participate in the strike.’
    • ‘At both Malton and York, we shall be sending round a circular asking farmers to let us know what stock they have available and wish to sell.’
    • ‘The company prints one advertising circular a year.’
    • ‘Details of the restructuring plan are expected to be included in the circular being sent to all shareholders in the next two weeks.’
    • ‘The Mambalam police station sent a circular to all Internet cafes in the area with a few directions as to usage.’
    • ‘His strategy was to mobilize church members by distributing circulars at mass.’
    • ‘The city health authority distributed circulars to hospitals to prepare for a possible dengue fever outbreak.’
    • ‘We have sent out a circular calling for donations and regular collections.’
    • ‘A circular sent to members of the exclusive club said the newer building was ‘a useful annexe’.’
    • ‘He goes through the advertising circulars and researches whether better prices are available anywhere else.’
    • ‘The authorities issued a detailed circular warning of the need to take stringent safety precautions.’
    • ‘But personally I'd prefer a letter - even if it was a circular - telling me what has happened to the sender and his/her family since the last communication.’
    leaflet, pamphlet, handbill
    flyer, advertisement, notice
    mailer, folder
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French circulier, from late Latin circularis, from Latin circulus small ring (see circle).