A circus tent.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- in ancient Rome, an oval or oblong arena with tiers of seats around it, used as for games or chariot races
- a similar arena, often enclosed in a tent or building for performances by acrobats, trained animals, clowns, etc.
- a traveling show of this sort or its personnel, equipment, etc.
- the performance of such a show
- Brit. a circular open place where many streets come together: used esp. in place names
- ☆ Informal anything thought of as being like a circus, as an event, place, or activity that is riotously entertaining, spectacular, frenzied, disorganized, etc.: a media circus
Origin: Classical Latin a circle, ring, racecourse ; from or akin to Classical Greek kirkos, a circle ; from Indo-European an unverified form kirk- ; from base an unverified form (s)ker-, to turn, bend from source Classical Greek korōnos and amp; Classical Latin curvus, curved
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- a. A public entertainment consisting typically of a variety of performances by acrobats, clowns, and trained animals.b. A traveling company that performs such entertainments.c. A circular arena, surrounded by tiers of seats and often covered by a tent, in which such shows are performed.
- A roofless oval enclosure surrounded by tiers of seats that was used in antiquity for public spectacles.
- Chiefly British An open circular place where several streets intersect.
- Informal Something suggestive of a circus, as in frenetic activity or noisy disorder: “The city is a circus of the senses” (William H. Gass).
Origin: Middle English, round arena, from Latin, circus, circle; see circle.
- cirˈcus·y adjective