noun (plural circuses)
- 1A travelling company of acrobats, clowns, and other entertainers which gives performances, typically in a large tent, in a series of different places: I was thrilled by the annual visits of the circus [as modifier]: a circus elephantMore example sentences
- It's all quite a long way removed from the life he and his father once knew, as entertainers in a travelling circus.
- He heard the complaints that he sometimes came across as too dour and awkward and while that rankled, he always insisted he was there to manage a football team not entertain like a circus clown.
- I just can't get enough of shows performed in circus tents.
- 1.1 • informal A large group of people travelling together on the circuit of a particular high-profile activity: the Formula One grand prix circusMore example sentences
- More attractions will be opening up as the NFL circus travels around the country.
- The traveling circus known as pro tennis arrived on the outskirts of London on June 23.
- So the F1 circus has now moved across the Atlantic to the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Canada.
- 1.2 • informal A public scene of frenetic, noisy, or confused activity: a media circusMore example sentences
- What was the media circus like at the scene in Colorado?
- But the Congressman's lawyer says this whole thing has become a media circus and a tabloid frenzy.
- Spare us the circus of long public trials, say the letters to the editor.
- 2(In ancient Rome) a rounded or oval arena lined with tiers of seats, used for equestrian and other sports and games: [in names]: the Circus MaximusMore example sentences
- By the 4th century A.D., nearly 177 days per year were devoted to the Games, held at the circus.
- The circle is the defining motif of the Frénouse, a shape that haunted Tatin, from his early obsession with the enclosed ring of the circus, to his adolescent observation of planets.
- 3 [in place names] British A rounded open space in a town or city where several streets converge: Piccadilly CircusMore example sentences
- Tomorrow sees the Town Hall in Regent Circus host the Quiz.
- The new civic space - the Circus - will provide the focal point and is described by developers as ‘an oasis of calm in the city centre’.
- The work will also affect Regent Circus, Clarence Street, Princes Street and Victoria Road.
late Middle English (with reference to the arena of Roman antiquity): from Latin, 'ring or circus'. The sense 'travelling company of performers' dates from the late 18th century.