cinematic (adj.) Look up cinematic at Dictionary.com
1914, in the movies sense, from French cinématique (1917), from cinéma (see cinema). Related: Cinematically.
cinematographer (n.) Look up cinematographer at Dictionary.com
1897, agent noun from cinematograph (see cinematography).
cinematography (n.) Look up cinematography at Dictionary.com
1896, from cinematograph (1896), which has been displaced in English by its shortened form, cinema; from French cínématographe + -graphy.
Cinerama (n.) Look up Cinerama at Dictionary.com
proprietary name, 1951, from cinema + -rama. Purists point out that the proper formation would be *Cinorama.
cinnabar (n.) Look up cinnabar at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "red or crystalline form of mercuric sulphide," also applied to other ores of mercury, originally with reference to its use as a pigment; from Old French cinabre (13c.), from Late Latin cinnabaris, from Greek kinnabari, of oriental origin (compare Persian zanjifrah in the same sense). Also used 14c.-17c. of red resinous juice of a certain Eastern tree, which was believed to be a mixture of dragon's and elephant's blood.
cinnamon (n.) Look up cinnamon at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French cinnamone (13c.), from Latin cinnamum, cinnamomum "cinnamon" (also used as a term of endearment), from Greek kinnamomon, from a Phoenician word akin to Hebrew qinnamon. Stripped from the bark of a tree in the avocado family. Ceylon cinnamon, the true cinnamon, is used in Britain, but American cinnamon is almost always from the related cassia tree of Southeast Asia and is stronger and sweeter.
cinquain (n.) Look up cinquain at Dictionary.com
"collection of five," 1711, from French cinquain "bundle of five objects," from cinq "five" (see five). Originally in English of military orders of battle; of five-lined stanzas of verse from 1882 (give a more specific form in English than usual in French).
Cinque Ports (n.) Look up Cinque Ports at Dictionary.com
late 12c. (in Anglo-Latin), late 13c. (in English), from Latin quinque portus (see cinque + port (n.1)). Hastings, Sandwich, Dover, Romney, and Hythe, granted special privileges from the crown in return for defense of the Channel in the days before England had a navy.
cipher (n.) Look up cipher at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "arithmetical symbol for zero," from Old French cifre "nought, zero," Medieval Latin cifra, with Spanish and Italian cifra, ultimately from Arabic sifr "zero," literally "empty, nothing," from safara "to be empty;" loan-translation of Sanskrit sunya-s "empty." The word came to Europe with Arabic numerals. Originally in English "zero," then "any numeral" (early 15c.), then (first in French and Italian) "secret way of writing; coded message" (a sense first attested in English 1520s), because early codes often substituted numbers for letters. Klein says Modern French chiffre is from Italian cifra.
cipher (v.) Look up cipher at Dictionary.com
"to do arithmetic" (with Arabic numerals), 1520s, from cipher (n.). Meaning "to write in code" is from 1560s. Related: Ciphered; ciphering.
circa (prep.) Look up circa at Dictionary.com
1856, from Latin circa "around, round about, near; in the region of; about the time of," alternative form of circum "round about" (see circum-).
circadian (adj.) Look up circadian at Dictionary.com
coined 1959 from Latin circa "about" (see circa) + diem, accusative singular of dies "day" (see diurnal). The original use is in circadian rhythm.
Circe (n.) Look up Circe at Dictionary.com
enchantress of the isle of Aea who transformed into swine those who drank from her cup ("Odyssey"), late 14c., from Latin Circe, from Greek Kirke. Related: Circean.
circle (n.) Look up circle at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "figure of a circle," from Old French cercle "circle, ring (for the finger); hoop of a helmet or barrel" (12c.), from Latin circulus "circular figure; small ring, hoop; circular orbit" (also source of Italian cerchio), diminutive of circus "ring" (see circus).

Replaced Old English trendel and hring. Late Old English used circul, from Latin, but only in an astronomical sense. Meaning "group of persons surrounding a center of interest" is from 1714 (it also was a secondary sense of Latin circulus); that of "coterie" is from 1640s (a sense also found in Latin circulus). To come full circle is in Shakespeare.
circle (v.) Look up circle at Dictionary.com
late 14c., cerclen, "to shape like a globe," also "to encompass or surround," from circle (n.). From c. 1400 as "to set in a circular pattern;" mid-15c. as "to move in a circle." Related: Circled; circling. To circle the wagons, figuratively, "assume an alert defensive stance" is from 1969, from old Western movies.
circlet (n.) Look up circlet at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Middle French cerclet, diminutive of cercle (see circle (n.)).
circuit (n.) Look up circuit at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "a going around; a line going around," from Old French circuit (14c.) "a circuit; a journey (around something)," from Latin circuitus "a going around," from stem of circuire, circumire "go around," from circum "round" (see circum-) + ire "to go" (see ion). Electrical sense is from 1746. Of judicial assignments, from 1570s; of venues for itinerant entertainers, from 1834. Circuit breaker is recorded from 1874. Related: Circuital.
circuitous (adj.) Look up circuitous at Dictionary.com
1660s, from Medieval Latin circuitous "full of roundabout ways," from Latin circuitus "a going round" (see circuit (n.)). Related: Circuitously; circuitousness.
circuitry (n.) Look up circuitry at Dictionary.com
1946, from circuit (n.)+ -ry.
circular (adj.) Look up circular at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Anglo-French circuler, Old French circuler "circular" (14c., Modern French circulaire), from Latin circularis, from circulus (see circle (n.)). The metaphoric circular firing squad is attested by 1990.
circular (n.) Look up circular at Dictionary.com
1550s, "circular figure," from circular (adj.). Meaning "a notice circulated" is from 1818.
circularity (n.) Look up circularity at Dictionary.com
1580s, from circular (adj.) + -ity.
circulate (v.) Look up circulate at Dictionary.com
1540s (late 15c. as a past participle adjective), as a chemical term for alternating vaporization and condensation, from Latin circulatus, past participle of circulare "to form a circle," from circulus (see circle (n.)). Meaning "to move around, revolve" is from 1670s; of blood, from 1650s; of persons, "to mingle in a social gathering," from 1863. Sense of "to pass about freely" is from 1660s; of newspapers from 1885. Related: Circulated; circulating.
circulation (n.) Look up circulation at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Middle French circulation or directly from Latin circulationem (nominative circulatio), noun of action from past participle stem of circulare "to form a circle," from circulus "small ring" (see circle (n.)). Used of blood first by William Harvey, 1620s.
circulatory (adj.) Look up circulatory at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, of blood, from French circulatoire or directly from Latin circulatorius, from circulator, agent noun from circulare (see circulate). Circulatory system is recorded from 1862.
circum- Look up circum- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "around, all around, on all sides," from Latin circum- a common element in word-formation, from adverb and preposition circum "around, round about," literally "in a circle," probably accusative form of circus "ring" (see circus). In French, the element became circon-; Kitchin points out that con for cum is common even in classical Latin.
circumambulate (v.) Look up circumambulate at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Latin circumambulatus, past participle of circumambulare "to walk around," from circum "around" (see circum-) + ambulare "to walk" (see amble). Related: Circumambulated; circumambulating; circumambulation.
circumcise (v.) Look up circumcise at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., "to cut off the foreskin," from Old French circoncisier "circumcise" (12c., Modern French circoncire), from Latin circumcisus, past participle of circumcidere "to cut round, to cut trim, to cut off" (see circumcision). Related: Circumcised; circumcising.
circumcision (n.) Look up circumcision at Dictionary.com
late 12c., from Latin circumcisionem (nominative circumcisio), noun of action from past participle stem of circumcidere "to cut around; cut, clip, trim," from circum "around" (see circum-) + caedere "to cut" (see -cide).
circumduction (n.) Look up circumduction at Dictionary.com
1570s, from Latin circumductionem (nominative circumductio), noun of action from past participle stem of circumducere "to lead around, move or drive around," from circum "around" (see circum-) + ducere "to lead" (see duke (n.)). Related: Circumduce.
circumference (n.) Look up circumference at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Latin circumferentia, neuter plural of circumferens, present participle of circumferre "to lead around, take around, carry around," from circum "around" (see circum-) + ferre "to carry" (see infer). A loan-translation of Greek periphereia "periphery, the line round a circular body," literally "a carrying round" (see periphery). Related: Circumferential.
circumflex (n.) Look up circumflex at Dictionary.com
1570s, from Latin (accentus) circumflexus, "bent around," past participle of circumflectere "to bend around," of a charioteer, "turn around" (from circum "around;" see circum-, + flectere "to bend;" see flexible); used as a loan-translation of Greek (prosodia) perispomenos (Dionysius of Halicarnassus), literally "drawn-around," with reference to shape.
circumjacent (adj.) Look up circumjacent at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Latin circumiacens, present participle of circumiacere "to border upon, to lie round about, enjoin," from circum- "around" (see circum-) + iacere "to throw, cast, hurl" (see jet (v.)). Related: Circumjacence; circumjacency.
circumlocution (n.) Look up circumlocution at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, from Latin circumlocutionem (nominative circumlocutio) "a speaking around" (the topic), from circum- "around" (see circum-) + locutionem (nominative locutio) "a speaking," noun of action from past participle stem of loqui "to speak" (see locution). A loan-translation of Greek periphrasis (see periphrasis).
circumnavigate (v.) Look up circumnavigate at Dictionary.com
1630s, from Latin circumnavigatus, past participle of circumnavigare "to sail round," from circum "around" (see circum-) + navigare (see navigation). Related: Circumnavigated; circumnavigating; circumnavigable.
circumnavigation (n.) Look up circumnavigation at Dictionary.com
1705, from circumnavigate + -ion.
circumpolar (adj.) Look up circumpolar at Dictionary.com
1680s in astronomy; 1690s in geography, from circum- + polar.
circumscribe (v.) Look up circumscribe at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Latin circumscribere "to make a circle around, encircle, draw a line around; limit, restrain, confine, set the boundaries of," from circum- "around" (see circum-) + scribere "write" (see script (n.)). Related: Circumscribed; circumscribing.
circumscription (n.) Look up circumscription at Dictionary.com
1530s, from Latin circumscriptionem (nominative circumscriptio) "an encircling; fact of being held to set limits," noun of action from past participle stem of circumscribere (see circumscribe). Figurative sense of "setting limits of meaning" is earliest in English.
circumspect (adj.) Look up circumspect at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin circumspectus "deliberate, guarded, well-considered," past participle of circumspicere "look around, take heed," from circum- "around" (see circum-) + specere "to look" (see scope (n.1)). Related: Circumspectly; circumspectness.
circumspection (n.) Look up circumspection at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "careful observation of one's surroundings," from Old French circumspection (Modern French circonspection), from Latin circumspectionem (nominative circumspectio) "a looking around; foresight, caution," noun of action from past participle stem of circumspicere "to look around" (see circumspect).
circumstance (n.) Look up circumstance at Dictionary.com
early 13c., "conditions surrounding and accompanying an event," from Old French circonstance "circumstance, situation," also literally, "outskirts" (13c., Modern French circonstance), from Latin circumstantia "surrounding condition," neuter plural of circumstans (genitive circumstantis), present participle of circumstare "stand around, surround, encompass, occupy, take possession of" from circum "around" (see circum-) + stare "to stand" from PIE root *stā- "to stand" (see stet). The Latin word is a loan-translation of Greek peristasis.

Meaning "a person's surroundings, environment" is from mid-14c. Meaning "a detail" is from c. 1300; sense of "that which is non-essential" is from 1590s. Obsolete sense of "formality about an important event" (late 14c.) lingers in Shakespeare's phrase pomp and circumstance ("Othello" III, iii).
circumstances (n.) Look up circumstances at Dictionary.com
"condition of life, material welfare" (usually with a qualifying adjective), 1704, from circumstance.
circumstantial (adj.) Look up circumstantial at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from Latin circumstantia (see circumstance) + -al (1). Related: Circumstantially. Circumstantial evidence is attested by 1691.
circumstantiate (v.) Look up circumstantiate at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Latin circumstantia "surrounding condition" (see circumstance) + -ate (2). Related: Circumstantiated; circumstantiating; circumstantiation.
circumvent (v.) Look up circumvent at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "to surround by hostile stratagem," from Latin circumventus, past participle of circumvenire "to get around, be around, encircle, surround," in figurative sense "to oppress, assail, cheat," from circum "around" (see circum-) + venire "to come" (see venue). Meaning "to go round" is from 1840. Related: Circumvented; circumventing.
circumvention (n.) Look up circumvention at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin circumventionem (nominative circumventio), noun of action from past participle stem of circumvenire "to get around" (see circumvent).
circumvolution (n.) Look up circumvolution at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., noun of action from past participle stem of Latin circumvolvere "to revolve through, to roll around" (see circumvolve).
circumvolve (v.) Look up circumvolve at Dictionary.com
1640s, from Latin circumvolvere "to roll round, revolve," from circum- (see circum-) + volvere "to turn around, roll" (see volvox). Related: Circumvolved; circumvolving.
circus (n.) Look up circus at Dictionary.com
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.)).

In 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.