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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a media circus (=a disapproving phrase for all the people from the media who report events, and all the attention they give to these events)
▪ There is likely to be a media circus outside the courtroom.
three-ring circus
▪ I don’t know how you can work in that office – it’s like a three-ring circus.
▪ The stables turned out to be remarkably solid structures for a travelling circus, made mostly of wood with canvas roofs.
▪ This year a travelling circus put up its tent and offered the public a horse-riding show.
▪ However, John Reynolds, the latest addition to this high-speed travelling circus, could be one of the surprise packets.
▪ He was the ringmaster against the former circus act.
▪ I recently saw a circus act with contortionists folding themselves in amazing ways.
▪ He was more than prepared to trade blows with the former circus act Benichou.
▪ The shimmering cascade became a mere backdrop for a circus act.
▪ This is the basis for many complex circus acts performed by animals.
▪ This is the ultimate sustainable city in terms of jokes and governmental circus acts.
▪ Balloons float, a high-wire circus act teeters.
▪ Predictably, the international media circus, with its Olympian disdain for the parochial, has long since moved on.
▪ Both players have spent the week in the Valley, working a couple of the central rings in the media circus.
▪ He said it would turn the inquiry into a media circus.
▪ A media circus of expected proportions ensues.
▪ November's by-election was to a large extent a media circus.
▪ They were more akin to circus performers than to more conventional professional sportsmen.
travelling musician/circus/exhibition etc
▪ A Bradford Museums Service travelling exhibition.
▪ However, John Reynolds, the latest addition to this high-speed travelling circus, could be one of the surprise packets.
▪ The stables turned out to be remarkably solid structures for a travelling circus, made mostly of wood with canvas roofs.
▪ This year a travelling circus put up its tent and offered the public a horse-riding show.
circus performers
▪ The media turned the trial into a circus.
▪ A few of the students here quite like the idea of running away with a circus.
▪ Also patron of circus people, ferrymen, hotel employees, and innkeepers.
▪ He was the ringmaster against the former circus act.
▪ Now it became a circus of doubles: double nurses, double pram, double bassinet.
▪ The next circus I attended, still before the war started, was Bertram Mills at Darlington.
▪ Their walk advertised a circus whose posters had adorned walls and lampposts for the past week.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Circus \Cir"cus\, n.; pl. Circuses. [L. circus circle, ring, circus (in sense 1). See Circle, and cf. Cirque.]

  1. (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.

    Note: The Circus Maximus at Rome could contain more than 100,000 spectators.
    --Harpers' Latin Dict.

  2. A circular inclosure for the exhibition of feats of horsemanship, acrobatic displays, etc. Also, the company of performers, with their equipage.

  3. Circuit; space; inclosure. [R.]

    The narrow circus of my dungeon wall.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., in reference to ancient Rome, from Latin circus "ring, circular line," which was applied by Romans to circular arenas for performances and contests and oval courses for racing (especially the Circus Maximus), from or cognate with Greek kirkos "a circle, a ring," from PIE *kirk- from root *(s)ker- (3) "to turn, bend" (see ring (n.)).\n

\nIn reference to modern large arenas for performances from 1791; sense then extended to the performing company, hence "traveling show" (originally traveling circus, 1838). Extended in World War I to squadrons of military aircraft. Meaning "lively uproar, chaotic hubbub" is from 1869. Sense in Picadilly Circus and other place names is from early 18c. sense "buildings arranged in a ring," also "circular road." The adjective form is circensian.


n. 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. 2 A round open space in a town or city where multiple streets meet. 3 (context historical English) In the ancient Roman Empire, a building for chariot racing. 4 (context military World War II English) 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. 5 (context obsolete English) circuit; space; enclosure.

  1. n. a travelling company of entertainers; including trained animals; "he ran away from home to join the circus"

  2. performance given by a traveling company of acrobats clowns and trained animals; "the children always love to go to the circus"

  3. a frenetic disorganized (and often comic) disturbance suggestive of a circus or carnival; "it was so funny it was a circus"; "the whole occasion had a carnival atmosphere" [syn: carnival]

  4. (antiquity) an open-air stadium for chariot races and gladiatorial games

  5. 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"

  6. a genus of haws comprising the harriers [syn: genus Circus]

Circus (disambiguation)

A circus is a traveling company of performers that may include acrobats, clowns, trained animals, and other novelty acts.

Circus or The Circus may also refer to:

Circus (2000 film)

Circus is a 2000 British crime thriller movie directed by Rob Walker and written by David Logan. The movie stars John Hannah, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Brian Conley, and Eddie Izzard. It was released in the UK on 5 May 2000 and had its USA (limited) release on 15 September 2000.

Circus (Lenny Kravitz album)

Circus is the fourth studio album by American rock musician Lenny Kravitz, released in 1995 by Virgin Records. It reached number 10 on the Billboard 200 and number 5 on the UK Albums Chart, becoming Kravitz's first top 10 album in the US and second in the UK. , Circus has sold 534,000 units in the US.


A circus is a company of performers that may include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists, as well as other object manipulation and stunt-oriented artists. The term 'circus' also describes the performance which has followed various formats through its 250-year modern history. Philip Astley is credited with being the 'father' of the modern circus when he opened the first circus in 1768 in England. Early circuses were almost exclusively demonstrations of equestrian skills with a few other types of acts to link the horsemanship performances. Performances developed significantly through the next fifty years, with large scale theatrical battle reenactments becoming a significant feature. The 'traditional' format, whereby a ringmaster introduces a varied selection of acts that mostly perform choreographed acts to traditional music, developed in the latter part of 19th century and continued almost universally to be the main style of circus up until the 1970s.

As styles of performance have changed since the time of Astley, so too have the types of venues where these circuses have performed. The earliest modern circuses were performed in open air structures with limited covered seating. From the late 18th to late 19th century bespoke circus buildings (often wooden) were built with various types of seating, a centre ring and sometimes a stage. The 'traditional' large tents, commonly known as 'Big Tops' were introduced in the mid 19th century as touring circuses superseded static venues. These tents eventually became the most common venue and remain so to the present day. Contemporary circuses perform in a variety of venues including tents, theatres and casinos. Many circus performances are still held in a ring usually 13 m (42 ft) in diameter. This dimension was adopted by Philip Astley in the late 18th century as the minimum diameter that enabled an acrobatic horse rider to stand upright on a cantering horse to perform their tricks.

Contemporary circus has been credited with reviving the circus tradition since the 1980s when a number of groups introduced circus based almost solely on human skills and which drew from other performing art skills and styles.

Circus (1936 film)

Circus (; translit. Tsirk) is a 1936 Soviet melodramatic comedy musical film. It was directed by Grigori Aleksandrov and Isidor Simkov at the Mosfilm studios. In his own words, it was conceived as "an eccentric comedy...a real side splitter."

Starring the glamorous and immensely popular Lyubov Orlova (Aleksandrov's wife), the first recognized star of Soviet cinema and a gifted singer, the film contains several songs which instantly became Soviet classics. The most famous is the " Song of the Motherland" (Широка страна моя родная).

The film was based on a comedy play by Ilf and Petrov and Valentin Kataev, Under the Circus Dome (Под куполом цирка), which was seen and liked by Aleksandrov. They made the play into the plot, but during the initial film shooting they went to America. Upon return, they disliked the director's interpretation, and after a conflict they abandoned the work, forbade the mention of their names in the credits, and further work on the plot was continued by Isaac Babel.

Circus (novel)

Circus is a novel written by the Scottish author Alistair MacLean. It was first released in the United Kingdom by Collins in 1975 and later in the same year by Doubleday in the United States.

Circus (video game)

is an arcade game released by Exidy in 1977. The game is a re-themed variant of Atari's Breakout, where the player controls a seesaw and clown in order to pop all the balloons in the level. The game has been copied and released under different names by numerous other companies in both the United States and Japan.

Circus (TV series)
Not to be confused with the Canadian TV series of the same title (1978-1985).

Circus is an 1989 Indian television series directed by Aziz Mirza & Kundan Shah, set in a circus troupe, and starring popular Hindi film actor of today, Shahrukh Khan when he was a newcomer, and Ashutosh Gowariker who subsequently directed movies such as Jodha-Akbar, Swades, Lagaan, & Baazi.

Circus (building)

The Roman circus (from Latin, "circle") was a large open-air venue used for public events in the ancient Roman Empire. The circuses were similar to the ancient Greek hippodromes, although circuses served varying purposes and differed in design and construction. Along with theatres and amphitheatres, Circuses were one of the main entertainment sites of the time. Circuses were venues for chariot races, horse races, and performances that commemorated important events of the empire were performed there. For events that involved re-enactments of naval battles, the circus was flooded with water.

According to Edward Gibbon, in Chapter XXXI of his work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the Roman people, at the start of the 5th century:

Circus (magazine)

Circus was a monthly American magazine devoted to rock music. It was published from 1966 to 2006. In its heyday the magazine had a full-time editorial staff that included some of the biggest names in rock journalism, such as Paul Nelson, Judy Wieder, David Fricke, and Kurt Loder, and rivaled Rolling Stone in sales and surpassed Creem. In 1974, a sister publication was launched, titled Circus Raves, but by 1977 that venture had been abandoned.

Gerald Rothberg originally put together the magazine under the name Hullabaloo in 1966 (23 issues), before changing the name to Circus in 1969. Since then he has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of the magazine. In its early years it covered hard rock acts like The Doors and Grand Funk Railroad. Later, Circus began to cater to teenage boys focusing mainly on the popular rock acts of the time. In the late 1970s, the magazine started focusing on pop culture as a weekly in the vein of People Magazine, which caused a drop in sales. The magazine gradually shifted to Heavy Metal acts in the early and mid-1980s, then began focusing coverage on glam metal groups like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard in the mid-to-late 1980s. Until the arrival of grunge, Circus prospered in this style. When grunge did arrive, however, the magazine lost focus and sales again dropped.

As the 1990s progressed, Rothberg changed the longtime design and logo of the magazine, pared the staff down to a bare minimum, and started using stories from freelancers. It was during this period that the magazine was attacked in the Guns n' Roses song " Get in the Ring".

Before the magazine was shut down in May 2006, Circus covered contemporary heavy metal, competing against magazines like Hit Parader.

Circus (Eraserheads album)

Circus (stylized CiRcuS) is the second studio album released by Filipino alternative rock group Eraserheads in 1994. Hits from Circus are " Alapaap", "Sembreak", "Kailan" (originally a musical number from the play Manhid by Auraeus Solito), "Magasin", and " With a Smile". It is also the last album of the band to come in vinyl record format.

The album was reissued by Sony-BMG Entertainment in 2006. This is the first album that uses a sidely inverted letter e, a notable trademark of the band. The album cover was created by visual artist Mark Justiniani. The original artwork is now in a private collection of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

"Wating" is the theme song for the 1994 Filipino movie of the same name, starring Richard Gomez and Carmina Villaroel. It does not appear on the original cassette release. The last part of the song features Carmina Villaroel on vocals.

Circus (FictionJunction Yuuka album)

Circus is the second album of J-pop duo FictionJunction Yuuka. It was released on July 4, 2007.

This album includes their last four singles and their b-sides (with the exception of "Yakusoku"), the previously Tsubasa Chronicle Future Soundscape IV exclusive "aikoi", as well as four brand-new songs. There are two versions of this album: the normal edition (with catalog number VICL-62426) and the limited edition (with catalog number VIZL-235). The limited edition includes a DVD with the PVs of Silly-Go-Round, Kōya Ruten and romanesque. The album debuted at #10 on the Oricon Album Charts.

Circus (2009 film)

Circus is a 2009 Kannada film directed and produced by Dayal Padmanabhan who previously acted with Ganesh in Gaalipata. Music was composed by Emil. The film stars Ganesh and Archana Gupta in the lead roles, Archana Gupta who had earlier done leading role in Telugu film Andamaina Manasulo. The film released statewide on 15 January 2009.

Circus (American band)

Circus was a Cleveland, Ohio-based area power pop band active in the early- and mid-1970s. Their lone, self-titled album was released in 1973, and their single "Stop Wait & Listen" debuted at #91 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts on March 17 of that year.

Circus (Chiaki Kuriyama album)

Circus (stylised as CIRCUS) is the album by Japanese musician and actress Chiaki Kuriyama, which was released on March 16, 2011. Kuriyama collaborated with famous Japanese and overseas rock musicians to create the album. In January 2012, the album was re-released as a deluxe edition, featuring the single " Tsukiyo no Shōzō" and its B-side " Seishun no Matataki""

Circus (French band)

Circus is a French band established in 2012 by Circus Calogero, Stanislas, Philippe Uminski, Elsa Fourlon and Karen Brunon. All are already established artists.

Their debut self-titled album Circus was released on 5 November 2012. The songs, mostly about the circus are written by Jean-Jacques Goldman, Dominique A, Marc Lavoine and Marie Bastide. The pre-released single from the album is "Sur un fil" that was released on 18 June 2012, on radio and downloads. A big concert was also organized in Théâtre Marigny in Paris in 2013.

Circus (company)

Circus is a Japanese visual novel studio known for creating adult-oriented bishōjo games. In addition to the normal Circus brand name, there are other brand divisions including Circus Northern, Circus Fetish, Circus Metal, and Sanctuary. Circus has also been involved in collaboration projects, creating titles such as True Tears, a collaboration with Broccoli, GameCrab, and Japanese artist Rei Izumi published under the brand La'cryma, and Sora o Tobu, Mittsu no Hōhō., an adult-oriented collaboration with Broccoli released under the same brand name.

In November 22, 2009, the headquarters went out of fire.

Circus (Britney Spears album)

Circus is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Britney Spears. It was released on November 28, 2008, by JIVE Records. Looking to transition from her "darker and more urban" fifth studio album Blackout (2007), Spears wanted to make her next project "a little bit lighter", incorporating electropop and dance-pop styles. Spears recorded the record during the summer of 2008, after her much-publicized personal struggles saw her placement under a temporary conservatorship earlier that year. As executive producers, Larry Rudolph and Teresa LaBarbera Whites enlisted collaborators including Spears' longtime colleague Max Martin and Nate "Danja" Hills.

Upon its release, Circus received generally favorable reviews from music critics, who complimented its production but were ambivalent towards its lyrical content. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of over 505,000 copies, making it her fifth album to reach the top of the chart. The album topped charts in nine additional countries. The record eventually exceeded sales of 3.5 million copies and 15 million digital tracks, in doing so it became Spears' best-selling album since her fourth studio album In the Zone (2003). The project was promoted through a series of television performances and Spears' fifth concert tour The Circus Starring Britney Spears.

Four singles were released from the album, two of which became international successes. Its lead single " Womanizer" peaked atop the US Billboard Hot 100 and registered as the largest jump to the top of the chart after debuting at number ninety-six. It became Spears's best-selling song in the country since " ...Baby One More Time", and gained a Grammy Award nomination for Best Dance Recording. The second and third singles " Circus" and " If U Seek Amy" peaked at numbers three and nineteen in the country, respectively. Consequentially, Circus became Spears's second album after her debut effort ...Baby One More Time (1999) to have two top ten singles and three top-twenty hits, also being her first to have two top five hits in the United States along with five charting songs on the Hot 100. Like their sixth album, this one also features CDVU+ technology that includes more than 30 pages of bonus features with an exclusive video performance, 60 printable photos, complete album lyrics, downloadable graphics, and hidden links. In addition, the packaging of the album is made from 100% recycled materials.

Circus (song)

"Circus" is a song recorded by American singer Britney Spears for her sixth studio album of the same name (2008). It was released on December 2, 2008, by Jive Records as the second single from the album. Written by Dr. Luke, Claude Kelly and Benny Blanco, "Circus" is a metaphor for the public's perception of Spears' life. After she listened to the track for the first time, she felt inspired to create an album and a tour with a circus theme. "Circus" is an uptempo electropop and dance-pop song with elements of pop rock and "half- rapped" vocals. The song's lyrics talk about being an entertainer and putting on shows.

"Circus" was well received by contemporary critics, with reviewers complimenting Spears' confident persona and praising the song's electronic production. "Circus" was a commercial success, peaking inside the top-ten in Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, and Sweden, while reaching top-twenty positions in many European countries. In the United States, "Circus" reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on Pop Songs and is her second best-selling digital song in the country, having sold over 3.1 million copies.

The music video, directed by Francis Lawrence, was released on December 4, 2008. It portrays Spears as the ringmaster of a circus accompanied by different performers, and it is interspersed with scenes of Spears in different circus settings. The video received positive reviews from critics, but was criticized by PETA for featuring "cruelly trained animals". However, the exhibitors denied these claims. Spears performed the song on Good Morning America on December 2, 2008. It was also the opening number of The Circus Starring Britney Spears (2009), where she was dressed in a ringleader outfit, designed to represent a metamorphosis. Spears has also performed the song during her residency concert Britney: Piece of Me. The song will appear in Just Dance 2016.

Circus (rapper)

Marcus Aureli, better known by his stage name Circus, is an American rapper based in Los Angeles, California. He is a member of Shape Shifters.

Circus (1949 song)

Circus is a 1949 song with music by Louis Alter and words by Bob Russell. The song was originally written for a Hollywood party for John Ringling North, head of the Ringling Bros, and Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was recorded by many artists including initially Dick Haymes, Bill Farrell, Alan Dale and Tony Martin, all in 1949-1950, and then later The Four Freshmen 1954, Sammy Davis Jr. 1956,and Chris Connor 1959.

Circus (Argent album)

Circus is the sixth studio album of Argent, released in 1975 by Epic (PE 33422), and distributed by CBS. It was the last album as part of their contract with CBS Records and the first after the departure of founding member/lead vocalist/guitarist Russ Ballard. New lead vocalist John Verity was added at the recommendation of Ballard (Verity's band had supported Argent during their previous tour and had impressed Ballard).

The album was recorded during an intense session after the new line up of the band workshopped and practised the material written largely by Rod Argent (bassist Jim Rodford wrote "Trapeze"). Prior to this album Argent had been working with his songwriting collaborator Chris White (the duo had written songs together and separately in The Zombies) on material for the band. The band quickly followed up with a second album Counterpoints the same year (1975) for RCA Records which has yet to be officially released on CD or in digital form.

The album is a concept album using the circus as a metaphor for life. The album charted at 171 in Billboard. "Circus" received a CD release as an individual title and a two album on one CD release from Wounded Bird Records in 2005.

Usage examples of "circus".

It swooped and curved, arcing over the tops of the buildings and careering in spirals, a dimly glimpsed display of virtuoso aerobatics, a shadowy circus.

In another part of the city, Megan, Jaime, Amparo and Felix were also looking at a circus poster.

For a circus, then, or an aquacade, or whatever the hell this extravaganza is.

Karnival is a bit like a circus, a bit like a bacchanalia, a bit like a Beaux Arts ball, a bit like a mass orgy, a bit like a slave market, and nothing at all like a university.

The whole circus company and a gathered crowd of Baltimoreans stood about, admiring it.

Leaving only Aleksandr Banat, who insisted that a circus needed a watchman even when it was installed in a royal park, the rest of the company rode in the wagons with the servants back to the palace and were shown, according to their station, to either dining room or kitchen.

Parkinson, Chief Librarian and Historian of the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, for taking a highly unreasonable request for information and supplying it.

Momus, south of the Town of Tarzak, lies the village of Sina nestled between the Fake Foot river delta and the glittering expanses of the Sea of Baraboo, named in honor of the ship that stranded the original circus on Momus two centuries before.

The other three, Ringling and Baraboo and Bailey, had permanent gigs playing circus music for a New Orleans disney.

Bastille Day enlivened the downtown area in mid-July, culminating in the Great Circus Parade that strutted down Wisconsin Avenue complete with hundred-year-old wagons brought by train from Baraboo, Wisconsin, and unloaded by horses in the train yard to the delight of scores of cheering children and equally happy grown-ups.

In one aspect, Binh Khoi was the perfect venue for us, since the town affected the same conceit as the circus, being designed to resemble a fragment of another time.

McGowan, for whom I was acquiring a profound affection, beamed on us, and produced a couple of bottles of blackstrap to drink the health of the Colossal Circassian Circus.

Joel Flint and Signer Canova too, with scattered among them and marking the date of that death too, the cautiously worded advertisements in Variety and Billboard, using the new changed name and no takers probably, since Signer Canova the Great was already dead then and already serving his purgatory in this circus for six months and that circus for eightbandsman, ringman, Bornean wild man, down to the last stage where he touched bottom: the travelling from country town to country town with a roulette wheel wired against imitation watches and pistols which would not shoot, until one day instinct perhaps showed him one more chance to use the gift again.

I thought you boys would rather spend your money at the circus than to spend it in almost any other way.

Grandpa, and then and there he told Brighteyes a funny story about a little white rabbit that lived in a garden and had carrots to eat, and it ate so many that its white hair turned red and it looked too cute for anything, and then it went to the circus.