One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A half-open steep-sided hollow at the head of a valley or on a mountainside, formed by glacial erosion.
- ‘The cirque valley, which is heavily timbered, is deeply dissected by Portland Creek and its tributaries.’
- ‘Broken trees are scattered everywhere; scoured paths lead up mountainsides to mysterious hidden cirques.’
- ‘As the lava walls of the cirque crumble they expel a constant dribble onto the dirty snow below.’
- ‘Sitting within a glacial cirque, the 17-room chalet has sweeping vistas of teal Lake McDonald - and the occasional mountain goat.’
- ‘The fourth and fifth landscape types are alpine landscapes, consisting of branching networks of troughs separated by ridges; and cirque landscapes, in which separate cirques are set in an upland massif.’
2literary A ring, circlet, or circle.
- ‘The decoration of metal cirques and a network of patchwork cloth highlight extremely simple frocks to show off the figure.’
Late 17th century (in cirque (sense 2)): from French, from Latin circus.
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