# Circular vs. Round — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 13, 2023
"Circular" specifically refers to the shape of a perfect circle, while "round" denotes a shape or object that is curved without necessarily being a perfect circle.

## Key Differences

"Circular" specifically indicates something that has the shape or form of a circle. This word emphasizes precision and geometric accuracy. On the other hand, "round" is a more general term that refers to any shape or object that has curves or a spherical nature. While all circles are round, not all round objects are circular.
When describing shapes, "circular" will always refer to a flat, two-dimensional figure where all points on its perimeter are equidistant from its center. "Round", however, can be used to describe both two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects, like spheres, which are round but not circular.
From a linguistic perspective, "circular" is often employed to describe things with a precise and consistent curve, such as a "circular argument" or a "circular letter". "Round", on the other hand, has broader applications and can be used in varied contexts like "round table", "round of applause", or "round up".
The word "circular" tends to be more formal in many contexts, emphasizing the exactness of a circle. "Round" is more colloquial and flexible, covering a range of shapes and ideas that are curved or cyclic, without the precision associated with circular.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

Shape or form of a circle.
Curved or spherical shape, not necessarily a perfect circle.

### Dimension

Primarily two-dimensional.
Can be both two and three-dimensional.

### Precision

Indicates geometric accuracy.
General term, less precise.

### Usage in Language

More formal, emphasizes exactness.

### Examples

Circular argument, circular letter.
Round table, round of applause.

## Compare with Definitions

#### Circular

Having the form or shape of a circle.
The table was perfectly circular.

#### Round

Shaped like or approximately like a circle or cylinder.
They sat at a round table.

#### Circular

Relating to a circle.
The dancers moved in a circular pattern.

#### Round

A regular tour of duty.
The security guard makes his round every hour.

#### Circular

Referring to something that repeatedly moves in a cycle.
The circular nature of life is often depicted in art.

#### Round

A sequence of events or actions that repeat regularly.
We sang another round of the chorus.

#### Circular

Distributed to many people.
The company sent a circular to all its employees.

#### Round

Being such that every part of the surface or the circumference is equidistant from the center
A round ball.

#### Circular

Of or relating to a circle.

#### Round

Moving in or forming a circle.

#### Circular

Shaped like or nearly like a circle; round.

#### Round

Shaped like a cylinder; cylindrical.

#### Circular

Moving in or forming a circle.

#### Round

Rather rounded in shape
The child's round face.

#### Circular

Took a circular route to the office.

#### Round

Full in physique; plump
A round figure.

#### Circular

Using a premise to prove a conclusion that in turn is used to prove the premise
A circular argument.

#### Round

(Linguistics) Formed or articulated with the lips in a rounded shape
A round vowel.

#### Circular

Defining one word in terms of another that is itself defined in terms of the first word.

#### Round

Full in tone; sonorous.

#### Circular

Addressed or distributed to a large number of persons.

#### Round

Whole or complete; full
A round dozen.

#### Round

(Mathematics) Having been rounded.

#### Circular

Of or relating to a circle.

#### Round

Not exact, especially when expressed as a multiple of 10; approximate
A round estimate.

#### Circular

In the shape of, or moving in a circle.

#### Round

Large; considerable
A round sum of money.

#### Round

Brought to satisfactory conclusion or completion; finished.

#### Circular

Referring back to itself, so as to prevent computation or comprehension; infinitely recursive.
Circular reasoning
Your dictionary defines "brave" as "courageous", and "courageous" as "brave". That's a circular definition.
A circular formula in a spreadsheet
I changed the definition of "sex" from "to have sex" to "to have sexual intercourse"; a dictionary definition must never be circular; using the word being defined to define itself.

#### Round

Outspoken; blunt
A round scolding.

#### Circular

Distributed to a large number of persons.

#### Round

Done with full force; unrestrained
Gave me a round thrashing.

#### Circular

(obsolete) Perfect; complete.

#### Round

Something, such as a circle, disk, globe, or ring, that is round.

#### Circular

(archaic) Adhering to a fixed circle of legends; cyclic; hence, mean; inferior.

#### Round

A circle formed of various things.

#### Circular

Syn of flyer: a printed advertisement, directive, or notice intended for mass circulation.

#### Round

Movement around a circle or about an axis.

#### Circular

(dated) A sleeveless cloak cut from a circular pattern.

#### Round

A rung or crossbar, as one on a ladder or chair.

#### Circular

A shuttle bus with a circular route.

#### Round

A cut of beef from the part of the thigh between the rump and the shank.

#### Circular

To distribute circulars to or at.

#### Round

An assembly of people; a group.

#### Circular

To extend in a circular direction.

A round dance.

#### Circular

In the form of, or bounded by, a circle; round.

#### Round

A complete course, succession, or series
A round of parties.
A round of negotiations.

#### Circular

Repeating itself; ending in itself; reverting to the point of beginning; hence, illogical; inconclusive; as, circular reasoning.

#### Round

Often rounds A course of customary or prescribed actions, duties, or places
Physicians' rounds.

#### Circular

Adhering to a fixed circle of legends; cyclic; hence, mean; inferior. See Cyclic poets, under Cyclic.
Had Virgil been a circular poet, and closely adhered to history, how could the Romans have had Dido?

#### Round

A complete range or extent.

#### Circular

Addressed to a circle, or to a number of persons having a common interest; circulated, or intended for circulation; as, a circular letter.
A proclamation of Henry III., . . . doubtless circular throughout England.

#### Round

One drink for each person in a gathering or group
Let me buy the next round.

#### Circular

Perfect; complete.
A man so absolute and circularIn all those wished-for rarities that may takeA virgin captive.

#### Round

A single outburst, as of applause or cheering.

#### Circular

A circular letter, or paper, usually printed, copies of which are addressed or given to various persons; as, a business circular.

#### Round

A single shot or volley.

#### Circular

A sleeveless cloak, cut in circular form.

#### Round

Ammunition for a single shot or volley.

#### Circular

An advertisement (usually printed on a page or in a leaflet) intended for wide distribution;
He mailed the circular to all subscribers

#### Round

A specified number of arrows shot from a specified distance to a target in archery.

#### Circular

Having a circular shape

#### Round

Sports & Games A unit of play that occupies a specified time, constitutes a certain number of plays, or allows each player a turn, especially the 18-hole sequence played in golf or one of the periods in a boxing match.

#### Circular

Shaped like a ring

#### Round

(Music) A composition for two or more voices in which each voice enters at a different time with the same melody.

#### Circular

Marked by or moving in a circle

#### Round

To make round or curved
Rounded his lips in surprise.
Rounded off the end of the board.

#### Circular

Involving reasoning that is defective because it depends on the conclusion.
The argument was deemed circular and unconvincing.

#### Round

(Linguistics) To pronounce with rounded lips; labialize.

#### Round

To fill out; make plump.

#### Round

To bring to completion or perfection; finish. Often used with out or off
The new dog rounded out our household. The speaker rounded off his lecture with a joke.

#### Round

(Mathematics) To approximate (a real number) by a nearby rational number with a specified level of precision. When rounded to the nearest hundred, 286 becomes 300. When rounded to the nearest tenth, 1.63 becomes 1.6.

#### Round

To make a turn about or to the other side of
Rounded a bend in the road.

#### Round

To make a complete circuit of; go or pass around
Rounded the entire peninsula.

#### Round

(Archaic) To encompass; surround:

#### Round

To become round or curved.

#### Round

To take a circular course; complete or partially complete a circuit
Racecars rounding into the final lap.

#### Round

To turn about, as on an axis
Rounded and came back across the field.

#### Round

To become filled out or plump.

#### Round

To develop into satisfactory completion or perfection
Is rounding into a fine quarterback.

To whisper.

#### Round

In a circular progression or movement; around.

#### Round

With revolutions
Wheels moving round.

#### Round

To a specific place or person
Called round for the pastor.
Sent round for the veterinarian.

Around.

#### Round

From the beginning to the end of; throughout
A plant that grows round the year.

#### Round

(physical) Of shape:

#### Round

Circular or cylindrical; having a circular cross-section in one direction.
We sat at a round table to make conversation easier.

#### Round

Spherical; shaped like a ball; having a circular cross-section in more than one direction.
The ancient Egyptian demonstrated that the Earth is round, not flat.

#### Round

Lacking sharp angles; having gentle curves.
Our child's bed has round corners for safety.

Plump.

#### Round

Complete, whole, not lacking.
The baker sold us a round dozen.

#### Round

(of a number) Convenient for rounding other numbers to; for example, ending in a zero.
One hundred is a nice round number.

#### Round

(phonetics) Pronounced with the lips drawn together; rounded.

#### Round

Outspoken; plain and direct; unreserved; not mincing.
A round answer; a round oath

#### Round

Finished; polished; not defective or abrupt; said of authors or their writing style.

#### Round

Consistent; fair; just; applied to conduct.

#### Round

Large in magnitude.

#### Round

Well-written and well-characterized; complex and reminiscent of a real person.

#### Round

(architecture) Vaulted.

#### Round

A circular or spherical object or part of an object.

#### Round

A circular or repetitious route.
Hospital rounds
The prison guards have started their nightly rounds.

#### Round

A general outburst from a group of people at an event.
The candidate got a round of applause after every sentence or two.

#### Round

A song that is sung by groups of people with each subset of people starting at a different time.

#### Round

A serving of something; a portion of something to each person in a group.
They brought us a round of drinks about every thirty minutes.

#### Round

A single individual portion or dose of medicine.

#### Round

One sandwich (two full slices of bread with filling).

#### Round

(art) A long-bristled, circular-headed paintbrush used in oil and acrylic painting.

#### Round

A firearm cartridge, bullet, or any individual ammunition projectile. Originally referring to the spherical projectile ball of a smoothbore firearm. Compare round shot and solid shot.

#### Round

(sports) One of the specified pre-determined segments of the total time of a sport event, such as a boxing or wrestling match, during which contestants compete before being signaled to stop.

#### Round

A stage, level, set of events in a game

#### Round

(sports) A stage in a competition.
Qualifying rounds of the championship

#### Round

(sports) In some sports, e.g. golf or showjumping: one complete way around the course.

#### Round

(video games) A stage or level of a game.

#### Round

(cards) The play after each deal.

#### Round

A rounded relief or cut at an edge, especially an outside edge, added for a finished appearance and to soften sharp edges.

#### Round

A strip of material with a circular face that covers an edge, gap, or crevice for decorative, sanitary, or security purposes.
All furniture in the nursery had rounds on the edges and in the crevices.

#### Round

(butchery) The hindquarters of a bovine.

#### Round

(dated) A rung, as of a ladder.

#### Round

A crosspiece that joins and braces the legs of a chair.

#### Round

A series of changes or events ending where it began; a series of like events recurring in continuance; a cycle; a periodical revolution.
The round of the seasons
A round of pleasures

#### Round

A course of action or conduct performed by a number of persons in turn, or one after another, as if seated in a circle.

#### Round

A series of duties or tasks which must be performed in turn, and then repeated.

#### Round

A circular dance.

#### Round

Rotation, as in office; succession.

#### Round

A general discharge of firearms by a body of troops in which each soldier fires once.

#### Round

An assembly; a group; a circle.
A round of politicians

#### Round

A brewer's vessel in which the fermentation is concluded, the yeast escaping through the bunghole.

#### Round

(archaic) A vessel filled, as for drinking.

#### Round

(nautical) A round-top.

A round of beef.

#### Round

A whisper; whispering.

Discourse; song.

#### Round

Alternative form of around
I look round the room quickly to make sure it's neat.

#### Round

Alternative form of around

#### Round

(transitive) To shape something into a curve.
The carpenter rounded the edges of the table.

#### Round

(intransitive) To become shaped into a curve.

#### Round

(with "out") To finish; to complete; to fill out.
She rounded out her education with only a single mathematics class.

#### Round

(intransitive) To approximate a number, especially a decimal number by the closest whole number.
Ninety-five rounds up to one hundred.

#### Round

(transitive) To turn past a boundary.
Helen watched him until he rounded the corner.

#### Round

(intransitive) To turn and attack someone or something (used with on).
As a group of policemen went past him, one of them rounded on him, grabbing him by the arm.

#### Round

And the runners round the bases on the double by Jones.

#### Round

(transitive) To go round, pass, go past.

#### Round

To encircle; to encompass.

#### Round

To grow round or full; hence, to attain to fullness, completeness, or perfection.

#### Round

To do ward rounds.

#### Round

To go round, as a guard; to make the rounds.

#### Round

To go or turn round; to wheel about.

#### Round

To speak in a low tone; whisper; speak secretly; take counsel.

#### Round

To address or speak to in a whisper, utter in a whisper.

#### Round

To whisper.
The Bishop of Glasgow rounding in his ear, "Ye are not a wise man," . . . he rounded likewise to the bishop, and said, "Wherefore brought ye me here?"

#### Round

To make circular, spherical, or cylindrical; to give a round or convex figure to; as, to round a silver coin; to round the edges of anything.
Worms with many feet, which round themselves into balls, are bred chiefly under logs of timber.
The figures on our modern medals are raised and rounded to a very great perfection.

#### Round

To surround; to encircle; to encompass.
The inclusive vergeOf golden metal that must round my brow.

#### Round

To bring to fullness or completeness; to complete; hence, to bring to a fit conclusion.
We are such stuffAs dreams are made on, and our little lifeIs rounded with a sleep.

#### Round

To go round wholly or in part; to go about (a corner or point); as, to round a corner; to round Cape Horn.

#### Round

To make full, smooth, and flowing; as, to round periods in writing.

#### Round

To grow round or full; hence, to attain to fullness, completeness, or perfection.
The queen your mother rounds apace.
So rounds he to a separate mind,From whence clear memory may begin.

#### Round

To go round, as a guard.
They . . . nightly rounding walk.

#### Round

To go or turn round; to wheel about.

#### Round

Having every portion of the surface or of the circumference equally distant from the center; spherical; circular; having a form approaching a spherical or a circular shape; orbicular; globular; as, a round ball.
Upon the firm opacous globeOf this round world.

#### Round

Having the form of a cylinder; cylindrical; as, the barrel of a musket is round.

#### Round

Having a curved outline or form; especially, one like the arc of a circle or an ellipse, or a portion of the surface of a sphere; rotund; bulging; protuberant; not angular or pointed; as, a round arch; round hills.

#### Round

Full; complete; not broken; not fractional; approximately in even units, tens, hundreds, thousands, etc.; - said of numbers.
Pliny put a round number near the truth, rather than the fraction.

#### Round

Not inconsiderable; large; hence, generous; free; as, a round price.
Three thousand ducats; 'tis a good round sum.
Round was their pace at first, but slackened soon.

#### Round

Uttered or emitted with a full tone; as, a round voice; a round note.

#### Round

Modified, as a vowel, by contraction of the lip opening, making the opening more or less round in shape; rounded; labialized; labial. See Guide to Pronunciation, 11.

#### Round

Outspoken; plain and direct; unreserved; unqualified; not mincing; as, a round answer; a round oath.
Sir Toby, I must be round with you.

#### Round

Full and smoothly expanded; not defective or abrupt; finished; polished; - said of style, or of authors with reference to their style.
In his satires Horace is quick, round, and pleasant.

#### Round

Complete and consistent; fair; just; - applied to conduct.
Round dealing is the honor of man's nature.

#### Round

Anything round, as a circle, a globe, a ring. "The golden round" [the crown].
In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled.

#### Round

A series of changes or events ending where it began; a series of like events recurring in continuance; a cycle; a periodical revolution; as, the round of the seasons; a round of pleasures.

#### Round

A course ending where it began; a circuit; a beat; especially, one freguently or regulary traversed; also, the act of traversing a circuit; as, a watchman's round; the rounds of the postman.

#### Round

A series of duties or tasks which must be performed in turn, and then repeated.
The trivial round, the common task.

#### Round

One work cycle, consisting of drilling blast holes, loading them with explosive, blasting, mucking out, and, if necessary, installing temporary support.
. . . Inco is still much more advanced than other mining companies. He says that the LKAB mine in Sweden is the closest rival. He predicts that, by 2008, Inco can reach a new productivity plateau, doubling the current mining productivity from 3,350 tonnes to 6,350 tonnes per person per year. Another aim is to triple the mine cycle rate (the time to drill, blast and muck a round) from one cycle to three complete cycles per 24 hours.

#### Round

A course of action or conduct performed by a number of persons in turn, or one after another, as if seated in a circle.
Women to cards may be compared: we playA round or two; which used, we throw away.
The feast was served; the bowl was crowned;To the king's pleasure went the mirthful round.

#### Round

A complete set of plays in a game or contest covering a standard number of individual plays or parts; as, a round of golf; a round of tennis.

#### Round

One set of games in a tournament.

#### Round

The time during which prize fighters or boxers are in actual contest without an intermission, as prescribed by their rules; a bout.

#### Round

A circular dance.
Come, knit hands, and beat the ground,In a light fantastic round.

#### Round

That which goes round a whole circle or company; as, a round of applause.

#### Round

Rotation, as in office; succession.

#### Round

The step of a ladder; a rundle or rung; also, a crosspiece which joins and braces the legs of a chair.
All the rounds like Jacob's ladder rise.

#### Round

A walk performed by a guard or an officer round the rampart of a garrison, or among sentinels, to see that the sentinels are faithful and all things safe; also, the guard or officer, with his attendants, who performs this duty; - usually in the plural.

#### Round

A short vocal piece, resembling a catch in which three or four voices follow each other round in a species of canon in the unison.

#### Round

A brewer's vessel in which the fermentation is concluded, the yeast escaping through the bunghole.

#### Round

A vessel filled, as for drinking; as, to drink a round od ale together.

#### Round

An assembly; a group; a circle; as, a round of politicians.

See Roundtop.

#### Round

Same as Round of beef, below.
Worm-eaten gentlemen of the round, such as have vowed to sit on the skirts of the city, let your provost and his half dozen of halberdiers do what they can.

#### Round

On all sides; around.
Round he throws his baleful eyes.

#### Round

Circularly; in a circular form or manner; by revolving or reversing one's position; as, to turn one's head round; a wheel turns round.

#### Round

In circumference; as, a ball is ten inches round.

#### Round

From one side or party to another; as to come or turn round, - that is, to change sides or opinions.

#### Round

By or in a circuit; by a course longer than the direct course; back to the starting point.

#### Round

Through a circle, as of friends or houses.
The invitations were sent round accordingly.

#### Round

Roundly; fully; vigorously.

#### Round

On every side of, so as to encompass or encircle; around; about; as, the people atood round him; to go round the city; to wind a cable round a windlass.
The serpent Error twines round human hearts.

#### Round

A charge of ammunition for a single shot

#### Round

An interval during which a recurring sequence of events occurs;
The neverending cycle of the seasons

#### Round

A regular route for a sentry or policeman;
In the old days a policeman walked a beat and knew all his people by name

#### Round

(often plural) a series of professional calls (usually in a set order);
The doctor goes on his rounds first thing every morning
The postman's rounds
We enjoyed our round of the local bars

#### Round

The activity of playing 18 holes of golf;
A round of golf takes about 4 hours

#### Round

The usual activities in your day;

#### Round

(sports) a period of play during which one team is on the offensive

#### Round

The course along which communications spread;
The story is going the rounds in Washington

#### Round

A serving to each of a group (usually alcoholic);
He ordered a second round

#### Round

A cut of beef between the rump and the lower leg

#### Round

A partsong in which voices follow each other; one voice starts and others join in one after another until all are singing different parts of the song at the same time;
They enjoyed singing rounds

#### Round

An outburst of applause;
There was a round of applause

#### Round

A crosspiece between the legs of a chair

#### Round

Any circular or rotating mechanism;
The machine punched out metal circles

#### Round

Wind around; move along a circular course;
Round the bend

Make round;
Round the edges

#### Round

Be around;
Developments surround the town
The river encircles the village

#### Round

Pronounce with rounded lips

#### Round

Attack in speech or writing;
The editors of the left-leaning paper attacked the new House Speaker

#### Round

Bring to a highly developed, finished, or refined state;

#### Round

Express as a round number;
Round off the amount

#### Round

Become round, plump, or shapely;
The young woman is fleshing out

#### Round

Having a circular shape

#### Round

(of sounds) full and rich;
Orotund tones
The rotund and reverberating phrase
Pear-shaped vowels

#### Round

(of numbers) to the nearest ten, hundred, or thousand;
In round numbers

#### Round

From beginning to end; throughout;
It rains all year round on Skye
Frigid weather the year around

#### Round

Completed or finished.
The first round of interviews is over.

#### Round

Having a curved shape, especially at the edges.
The round edges of the coin were smooth.

## Common Curiosities

#### Is a sphere circular?

A sphere is round, but not circular. A circle, however, is circular.

#### Are all circular objects round?

Yes, all circular objects are round, but not vice versa.

#### Can "round" describe a three-dimensional object?

Yes, round can describe both two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects, while circular typically describes two-dimensional ones.

#### Can "round" be used in the context of numbers?

Yes, numbers can be rounded up or down, but they aren't described as circular.

#### Is a "round of applause" circular?

No, a round of applause refers to a burst of clapping, not something circular.

#### Can I say "round letter" instead of "circular letter"?

In English, the term is "circular letter" for a letter distributed to many. "Round letter" isn't standard.

#### What does a "circular argument" mean?

A circular argument is one where the conclusion is used to justify the premise. It's not related to being round.

#### Does "round" have more diverse meanings than "circular"?

Yes, round has broader applications in language, while circular is more specific.

#### Are tires round or circular?

Tires are both round and circular, but in context, they are often referred to as round.

#### What does "circular motion" mean?

Circular motion refers to an object moving in a circle. It doesn't specifically imply round motion.

#### Are coins round or circular?

Coins are typically both round and circular.

#### Do both words originate from the same root?

No, circular comes from the Latin "circulus", while round comes from the Old English "rund".

#### Is "round" more frequently used in everyday language?

Yes, round is more colloquial and versatile than circular in many contexts.

#### Which word is more precise in geometric contexts?

In geometry, circular is more precise than round.

#### Can "circular" describe a looped route?

Yes, a circular route means it returns to its starting point. It doesn't mean the route is round.

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