Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
See also: Circus


Wikipedia has an article on:



From Latin circus (ring, circle), from Proto-Indo-European *sker, *ker (to turn, to bend).[1][2]


  • (file)
  • UK, IPA: /ˈsəːkəs/; USA, IPA: /ˈsərkəs/
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)kəs


circus (plural circuses)

  1. A traveling company of performers that may include acrobats, clowns, trained animals, and other novelty acts, that gives shows usually in a circular tent.
    The circus will be in town next week.
  2. A round open space in a town or city where multiple streets meet.
    Oxford Circus in London is at the north end of Regent Street.
  3. (historical) In the ancient Roman Empire, a building for chariot racing.
  4. (military, World War II) A code name for bomber attacks with fighter escorts in the day time. The attacks were against short-range targets with the intention of occupying enemy fighters and keeping their fighter units in the area concerned.
    • RAF Web - Air of Authority
      ... the squadron (No. 452) moved to Kenley in July 1941 and took part in the usual round of Circus, Rhubarb and Ramrod missions.
  5. (obsolete) Circuit; space; enclosure.
    The narrow circus of my dungeon wall. — Byron.

Derived terms[edit]

Coordinate terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ A grammar of modern Indo-European, p. 398, 3rd paragraph
  2. ^ The American heritage dictionary of Indo-European roots, p. 78, entry for "(s)ker-3



From Ancient Greek κίρκος (kírkos, circle, ring), related with κρίκος (kríkos, ring).



circus m (genitive circī); second declension

  1. A circular line or orbit; circle, ring.
  2. A racecourse or space where games are held, especially one that is round.
  3. The spectators in a circus; a circus.


Second declension.

Number Singular Plural
nominative circus circī
genitive circī circōrum
dative circō circīs
accusative circum circōs
ablative circō circīs
vocative circe circī

Derived terms[edit]