circus

Definitions

  • Grabbed a Circus Man by the Arm 047
    Grabbed a Circus Man by the Arm 047
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n circus a performance given by a traveling company of acrobats, clowns, and trained animals "the children always love to go to the circus"
    • n circus a frenetic disorganized (and often comic) disturbance suggestive of a large public entertainment "it was so funny it was a circus","the whole occasion had a carnival atmosphere"
    • n Circus a genus of haws comprising the harriers
    • n circus an arena consisting of an oval or circular area enclosed by tiers of seats and usually covered by a tent "they used the elephants to help put up the circus"
    • n circus (antiquity) an open-air stadium for chariot races and gladiatorial games
    • n circus a travelling company of entertainers; including trained animals "he ran away from home to join the circus"
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Additional illustrations & photos:

encamped circus encamped circus
wolfhound fleeing circus by night wolfhound fleeing circus by night
AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE CIRCUS AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE CIRCUS
CIRCUS PROFESSIONALS PRACTISING A FEAT OF BALANCING CIRCUS PROFESSIONALS PRACTISING A FEAT OF BALANCING

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The reason the Animal Crackers box is designed with a string handle is because when the popular circus theme was introduced in 1902 they thought it would also be a good idea to package them with a string as a Christmas novelty so they could be hung from Christmas trees
    • Circus A circular inclosure for the exhibition of feats of horsemanship, acrobatic displays, etc. Also, the company of performers, with their equipage.
    • Circus (Roman Antiq) A level oblong space surrounded on three sides by seats of wood, earth, or stone, rising in tiers one above another, and divided lengthwise through the middle by a barrier around which the track or course was laid out. It was used for chariot races, games, and public shows.
    • Circus Circuit; space; inclosure. "The narrow circus of my dungeon wall."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Approximately sixty circus performers have been shot from cannons. At last report, thirty-one of these have been killed.
    • n circus In Roman antiquity, a large, oblong, roofless inclosure, used especially for horse- and chariot-races. It was rounded at one end, and had at the other the barriers or starting-places for the horses. The course passed round a low central wall, called the spina, which reached nearly from end to end, and was surrounded by tiers of seats rising one above another for the accommodation of the spectators. It was essentially an adaptation of the Greek hippodrome, but was used also, like the amphitheater, for gladiatorial contests, combats with wild beasts, etc.
    • n circus In modern times, a place of amusement where feats of horsemanship and acrobatic displays form the principal entertainment; the company of performers in such a place, with their equipage; the entertainment given.
    • n circus In England, the space formed at the intersection of two streets by making the buildings at the angles concave, so as to give the intervening space the form of a circle: as, Oxford Circus, Regent Circus, in London.
    • n circus An inclosed space of any kind; a circuit.
    • n circus [capitalized] In ornithology, a genus of diurnal birds of prey, the harriers, typical of the subfamily Circinæ (which see) C. cyaneus is the common harrier of Europe; C. hudsonius is the North American marsh-hawk; and there are sundry other species.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Out of all the animals a circus animal trainer works with, none are deadlier than the elephant. More deaths are caused by the elephants than the large cats circus tamers train with.
    • n Circus sėr′kus a circular building for the exhibition of games: a place for the exhibition of feats of horsemanship: a group of houses arranged in the form of a circle: applied to nature, as, e.g., high hills surrounding a plain
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Quotations

  • Erica Jong
    Erica%20Jong
    “Every country gets the circus it deserves. Spain gets bullfights. Italy gets the Catholic Church. America gets Hollywood.”
  • Elwyn Brooks White
    Elwyn%20Brooks%20White
    “Commas in The New Yorker fall with the precision of knives in a circus act, outlining the victim.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Marriage is a three ring circus: engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering.”
  • (Decimus Junius Juvenalis) Juvenal
    (Decimus Junius Juvenalis) Juvenal
    “The people long eagerly for just two things. Bread and circuses.”
  • (Decimus Junius Juvenalis) Juvenal
    (Decimus Junius Juvenalis) Juvenal
    “Two things only the people anxiously desire, bread and the circus games.”

Idioms

Bread and circuses - Activites that entertain people and distract them from problems to keep them from complaining or protesting are bread and circuses.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. circus, circle, ring, circus (in sense 1). See Circle, and cf. Cirque
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. circus; cog. with Gr. kirkos.

Usage

In literature:

Were you ever with a circus, brother?
"Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz" by L. Frank Baum
You may stand in Piccadilly Circus at midnight and fingerpost yourself to the country of your dreams.
"Nights in London" by Thomas Burke
THE CIRCUS AT WHITESTONE.
"Work and Win" by Oliver Optic
My well-beloved circus queen, My Human Snake, my Angeline!
"The Book of Humorous Verse" by Various
In the meantime, Fanny had found her friend, and had heard the splendid news that a circus was just going to pass through the village.
"Chatterbox, 1906" by Various
A touch of circus had renewed their youth as by the wave of a magic wand.
"The Return of Peter Grimm" by David Belasco
We're going to a circus and on for supper afterwards.
"Gossamer" by George A. Birmingham
Of course when he and Snowball joined the circus they would need dozens of hoops.
"The Tale of Snowball Lamb" by Arthur Bailey
I oft sat beside him in the Circus or at the games last year.
""Unto Caesar"" by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
The circus was now climbing desperately, but the watcher on high had a big margin of safety.
"Tam O' The Scoots" by Edgar Wallace
Then began a genuine circus.
"Twenty Years of Hus'ling" by J. P. Johnston
The two young people, their circus work over for the afternoon, were soon on their way to the hospital.
"Joe Strong, the Boy Fish" by Vance Barnum
Well, it's not much of a circus, but it's a circus all the same.
"Nobody's Boy" by Hector Malot
As soon as a circus had been in town, the boys began to have circuses of their own, and to practise for them.
"Boy Life" by William Dean Howells
Pa said I was mistaken, cause they never prayed in circus, 'cept the lemonade butchers.
"Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa 1883" by George W. Peck
The edition was advertised like a circus, and doors were to be opened at six o'clock in the morning.
"Peck's Sunshine Being a Collection of Articles Written for Peck's Sun, Milwaukee, Wis. - 1882" by George W. Peck
The next morning there was a circus.
"How Private George W. Peck Put Down The Rebellion or, The Funny Experiences of a Raw Recruit - 1887" by George W. Peck
He ran round and round like a pony in a circus.
"Five Little Friends" by Sherred Willcox Adams
The circus owner invited grandma to stay to the circus; but as she had not time, he paid her eight dollars, and led her to the vehicle.
"Harper's Young People, February 10, 1880" by Various
He's right uncanny; but there ain't no denyin' but what he's as good as a circus when he gits to playin' with Toby.
"Kings in Exile" by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
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In poetry:

Have you ever watched the clowns at play,
White, red and black on circus day?
They're always very, very gay.
I wonder how they stay that way!
"Humor" by John Chipman Farrar
I traced the Circus whose gray stones incline
Where Rome and dim Etruria interjoin,
Till came a child who showed an ancient coin
That bore the image of a Constantine.
"In The Old Theatre, Fiesole" by Thomas Hardy
The winter streets an orchestra of horns
And gods slept under tabernacle tents
That sprang up overnight on circus grounds
Like giant toadstools yearning for respectability.
"Extraits" by Donald Justice
When Rome was uproarious, her knowing patricians
Made "Bread and the Circus" a cure for each row;
But not so the plan of our noble physicians,
"No Bread and the Tread-mill" 's the regimen now.
"An Expostulation to Lord King" by Thomas Moore
And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
"A Ritual To Read To Each Other" by William Stafford
I vow to show ye Rome aflame, the whole town in a mass;
Upon this tower we'll take our stand to watch the 'wildered pass;
How paltry fights of men and beasts! here be my combatants,--
The Seven Hills my circus form, and fiends shall lead the dance.
"Nero’s Incendiary Song" by Victor Marie Hugo

In news:

Moments after PETA supporters arrived at the Piccadilly Circus in North Fort Myers on Saturday afternoon, a sheriff's deputy asked them to leave.
The circus features the "Elephant Extravaganza," in which an elephant stands on one foot.
Piccadilly Circus Pizza announces a new fried breakfast burrito that cooks in just 60 to 75 seconds.
Beyonce's "Single Ladies" at Piccadilly Circus.
PICCADILLY CIRCUS celebrates 25 years entertaining families throughout North America and is coming to Stephenson County.
Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad round up a 'nerd circus' for their latest show 'In the Dark' at Royce Hall, including modern dance group Pilobolus and Demetri Martin.
Something about the internet and declining interest in Family Circus, or something.
In the late '70s, I once saw Batman and Robin appear at some circus at The Myriad.
Eric Idle from Monty Python's Flying Circus and John Popper , singer and harmonica player for Blues Traveler, were both born on a March 29th.
Bell Pottinger has been appointed by media company Komixx Entertainment to promote its new children's TV programme, Toby's Travelling Circus.
Delores, from Toby's Travelling Circus.
Ringling Circus Hired Private Eye To Infiltrate PETA, Fairfax Jury Told.
Setting up camp in Grand Circus Park, purging Lyndon LaRouche and governing by consensus.
Wattrick MLive.com Occupy Detroit rally in Grand Circus Park.
It's hard to know what exactly to make of the Occupy Detroit protest that began this weekend and is expected to continue for 60 days in Grand Circus Park.
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In science:

Although CIRCUS can accommodate as many as three separate circumstellar “clouds” with as many independent parameter sets, in this paper we assume the disk to be homogeneous.
The magnetic Bp star 36 Lyncis, II. A spectroscopic analysis of its co-rotating disk
In its solution of the radiative transfer, CIRCUS allows the user to compute the line flux with the line source function set either to zero or the Planck function at the local temperature.
The magnetic Bp star 36 Lyncis, II. A spectroscopic analysis of its co-rotating disk
We have computed CIRCUS models to simulate these strengthenings in detail in order to determine both a mean temperature and column density of the disk.
The magnetic Bp star 36 Lyncis, II. A spectroscopic analysis of its co-rotating disk
Following the methodology of SG01, we used CIRCUS and SYNSPEC to fit the strengthenings of the absorption lines during disk occultation.
The magnetic Bp star 36 Lyncis, II. A spectroscopic analysis of its co-rotating disk
The comparison of this CIRCUS model with the observations is given in Fig. 2a.
The magnetic Bp star 36 Lyncis, II. A spectroscopic analysis of its co-rotating disk
Martin Gardner gives a puzzle about a ten-digit autobiographical number 6210001000 in his book “Mathematical Circus” .
Autobiographical Numbers
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