cirque

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from French cirque, from Latin circus (ring, circle), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ker- (to turn, to bend) [1] [2].

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

cirque (plural cirques)

  1. (geology) A curved depression in a mountainside with steep walls, forming the end of a valley.
    • 1855, Robert Browning, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”, XXII–XXIII:
      [...] Toads in a poisoned tank, / Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage— / The fight must so have seemed in that fell cirque.
    • 1982, TC Boyle, Water Music, Penguin 2006, p. 344:
      Of course it's going to be bad whever the clouds let loose, but up here pussyfooting along the perimeter of toothy cirques and dead drops of anywhere from eighty to three hundred feet, it would be a disaster.
    • 1991, Mark Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War, Harvest 2005, p. 618:
      When the soldiers were not lost among tattered skeins of fog, they could see far out into the cirque, as if it were a bay of black water.

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French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Latin circus.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

cirque m (plural cirques)

  1. circus
  2. (geology) cirque
  3. (historical) a circular arena, such as in the ancient Roman Empire
  4. (colloquial) a mess, a disorder
    C'est quoi ce cirque !

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