"flowing around, surrounding as a fluid," 1570s, from Latin circumfluentem (nominative circumfluens), present participle of circumfluere "to flow around," from circum "around, round about" (see circum-) + fluere (see fluent). Related: Circumfluence.
word-forming element meaning "around, round about, all around, on all sides," from Latin adverb and preposition circum "around, round about," literally "in a circle," probably accusative form of circus "ring" (see circus). The Latin word was commonly used in word-formation. In French, the element became circon-; Kitchin points out that con for cum is common even in classical Latin. For sense development, compare German rings "around."
1580s, "flowing freely" (of water), also, of speakers, "able and nimble in the use of words," from Latin fluentem (nominative fluens) "lax, relaxed," figuratively "flowing, fluent," present participle of fluere "to flow, stream, run, melt," from extended form of PIE *bhleu- "to swell, well up, overflow" (source also of Latin flumen "river;" Greek phluein "to boil over, bubble up," phlein "to abound"), an extended form of root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell." Used interchangeably with fluid (adj.) in 17c. in the sense "changeable, not rigid." Related: Fluently.