circus

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See also: Circus

English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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. (figuratively) A spectacle; a noisy fuss.
    • 2009, Christine Brooks, A Quiet Village (page 81)
      The village would be turned into a circus over this. He groaned, it was just the sort of case the media had a field day over. He had to get the whole thing sorted fast before anyone got wind of it.
  4. (historical) In the ancient Roman Empire, a building for chariot racing.
  5. (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.
  6. (obsolete) Circuit; space; enclosure.
    • Byron
      The narrow circus of my dungeon wall.

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Latin[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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

Inflection[edit]

Second declension.

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

Derived terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

References[edit]

  • circus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • circus in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • du Cange, Charles (1883), “circus”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre
  • circus in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • circus in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin