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1. To move in a circular path, perhaps to come back to one's original location. A specific person or thing does not have to be stated after "around" to convey this meaning. Does anyone know why helicopters are circling around outside our building? I can't wait for you here because I'm blocking traffic—I'll have to circle around.
2. To move something in a circular path. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is often used between "circle" and "around." Take this tray of hors d'oeuvres and circle it around to all the people sitting in the living room.
3. To form a circle around someone or something. The shower guests circled around the bride-to-be as she opened presents. The kids circled around the newly hatched chicks in awe.
4. To focus on someone or something. But it's Beth's surprise party, not yours, so all the decorations and games should circle around her and her alone.
5. To occur again in the usual pattern or schedule. I am so ready for summer to circle around again because I hate the cold!
6. To envelop someone or something in something, often a material. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is often used between "circle" and "around." Now circle that piece of fabric around the mannequin like this.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
circle around (over someone or something)
[for a plane or a bird] to fly around above someone, something, or some place. The plane circled around over us for a few minutes and then went on. It circled around over the field.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To proceed in a circle around someone or something: We circled around the block until they were ready to be picked up.
2. To move something in a circle around someone or something: We circled the dish around the table so everyone could try some.
3. To wrap or place something in a circle around someone or something: We circled the ribbon around the pole.
4. To form a circle around someone or something: The children circled around the storyteller.
5. To proceed in a circle: The plane circled around until it was cleared for landing.
6. To be centered around someone or something: These movie stars think everything circles around them.
7. To come by way of rotation: When the holiday season circles around, I want to have all my shopping done.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.