Pronunciation: (sûr'kus), Strict Standards: Non-static method FenSites::linkTo() should not be called statically in /site/html/dictionary/circus.html on line 75 [key]
1. a large public entertainment, typically presented in one or more very large tents or in an outdoor or indoor arena, featuring exhibitions of pageantry, feats of skill and daring, performing animals, etc., interspersed throughout with the slapstick antics of clowns. Cf. big top.
2. a troupe of performers, esp. a traveling troupe, that presents such entertainments, together with officials, other employees, and the company's performing animals, traveling wagons, tents, cages, and equipment.
3. a circular arena surrounded by tiers of seats, in which public entertainments are held; arena.
4. (in ancient Rome)
a. a large, usually oblong or oval, roofless enclosure, surrounded by tiers of seats rising one above another, for chariot races, public games, etc.
b. an entertainment given in this Roman arena, as a chariot race or public game: The Caesars appeased the public with bread and circuses.
5. anything resembling the Roman circus, or arena, as a natural amphitheater or a circular range of houses.
6. See flying circus.
7. Brit.an open circle, square, or plaza where several streets converge: Piccadilly Circus.
8. fun, excitement, or uproar; a display of rowdy sport.
9. Obs.a circlet or ring.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.