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circular (SUHR-kyuh-luhr) adjective

1. In the shape of or related to a circle.

2. Roundabout, indirect.

3. Involving fallacious reasoning that tries to prove something previously assumed true.


A widely distributed letter, notice, advertisement, etc.

[From Middle English circuler, from Middle French, from Latin circularis, from circulus (small circle), diminutive of circus (circle or ring), from Greek kirkos (circle).]

So the term "three-ring circus" has, in fact, four "rings" in it, etymologically speaking. Other words derived from the same source are circuit, circulate, and search (in the sense of "to go around").] -Anu

"In writing or logic classes many of us learned -- and put aside - that `to beg the question' is a logical fallacy that refers to circular reasoning. It is an argument that assumes as a truth the point the speaker is arguing for. To borrow an example ... `This painting is trash because it is obviously worthless.'" Dan Hortsch; Turn of a Phrase is Bereft of Praise in Its Final Phase; The Oregonian (Portland); Oct 6, 2002.

"He claimed clarification was received in a circular signed by the Permanent Secretary S.A. Suleiman ..." Winniefred Bassey; For Luth Workers, It's Battle Royale; This Day (Lagos, Nigeria), Aug 30, 2002.

This week's theme: words from mathematics that have other meanings as well.


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