# Circle vs. Ring: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on October 16, 2023
A "circle" is a round shape with every point equidistant from its center, while a "ring" is a circular band or hoop, often hollow at the center.

## Key Differences

A "circle" is one of the most basic and fundamental shapes in geometry. Defined mathematically, it consists of all points in a plane that are at a given distance from a given point, its center. When you draw a circle, you're marking out a continuous curve where every point is an equal distance from the center. On the other hand, a "ring" often implies a band or hoop, which might be hollow in the center. It doesn't necessarily concern itself with the geometric perfection that a circle does.
In everyday language, when someone mentions a "circle," they could be referring to anything from the shape drawn on a piece of paper to a group of people with shared interests or traits. The term is versatile and can be abstract, representing unity or wholeness. A "ring," however, commonly evokes images of jewelry, such as wedding or engagement bands. Yet, it can also signify a circular band of another material, like a tree ring or a smoke ring.
Functionally, a "circle" often serves a more abstract or conceptual role. For instance, in discussions about inclusivity, one might talk about widening one's circle. Meanwhile, a "ring" can be more tangible and functional. Think about a boxing ring, where the term denotes an enclosed space for a specific activity, or a telephone ringing, indicating an incoming call.
Culturally, both words have significance. "Circle" can imply eternity, given its unending shape. In various traditions and rituals, people sit in circles to signify unity and equality, where no one person stands out. A "ring," especially in the context of jewelry, symbolizes commitment or bond, as seen in marriage ceremonies.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

A round shape with points equidistant from the center.
A circular band, often hollow in the center.

### Abstract Usage

Can signify unity or wholeness.
Symbolizes commitment or bond.

### Tangible Usage

Often represents the geometric shape.
Commonly denotes jewelry or a band.

### Functionality

Serves a conceptual role.
More tangible, like a boxing ring.

### Cultural Significance

Implies eternity or unity.
Denotes bond or commitment.

## Circle and Ring Definitions

#### Circle

A group of people with shared interests or traits.
She introduced me to her circle of friends.

#### Ring

A circular band worn on fingers as jewelry.
She wore a beautiful gold ring on her index finger.

#### Circle

A loop or cycle of events.
The circle of life continues with each generation.

#### Ring

A hollow circular shape or mark.
There was a ring of coffee on the table.

#### Circle

A plane curve everywhere equidistant from a given fixed point, the center.

#### Ring

A characteristic sound, especially of a bell.
The church bell's ring echoed through the town.

#### Circle

A planar region bounded by a circle.

#### Ring

An enclosed space for sports or events.
The boxer entered the ring ready for the match.

#### Circle

Something, such as a ring, shaped like such a plane curve.

#### Ring

A circular object, form, line, or arrangement.

#### Circle

A circular or nearly circular course, circuit, or orbit:a satellite's circle around the earth.

#### Ring

A small circular band, generally made of precious metal and often set with jewels, worn on the finger.

#### Circle

A traffic circle.

#### Ring

A circular band used for carrying, holding, or containing something
A napkin ring.

#### Circle

A series or process that finishes at its starting point or continuously repeats itself; a cycle.

#### Ring

Rings(Sports) A pair of circular metal bands suspended in the air for gymnastic exercises, on which balancing and swinging maneuvers are performed while holding the bands as motionless as possible.

#### Circle

A group of people sharing an interest, activity, or achievement:well-known in artistic circles.

#### Ring

A circular movement or course, as in dancing.

#### Circle

A territorial or administrative division, especially of a province, in some European countries.

#### Ring

An enclosed, usually circular area in which exhibitions, sports, or contests take place
A circus ring.

#### Circle

A sphere of influence or interest; domain.

#### Ring

A rectangular arena set off by stakes and ropes in which boxing or wrestling events are held.

#### Circle

(Logic)A vicious circle.

#### Ring

The sport of boxing.

#### Circle

To make or form a circle around:The hedge circles the fountain.

#### Ring

An enclosed area in which bets are placed at a racetrack.

#### Circle

To move in a circle around:The ship circled the island.

#### Ring

Bookmakers considered as a group.

#### Circle

To move in a circle.

#### Ring

An exclusive group of people acting privately or illegally to advance their own interests
A drug ring.

#### Circle

(geometry) A two-dimensional geometric figure, a line, consisting of the set of all those points in a plane that are equally distant from a given point (center).
The set of all points (x, y) such that {{(x
R2}} is a circle of radius r around the point (1, 0).

#### Ring

A political contest; a race.

#### Circle

A two-dimensional geometric figure, a disk, consisting of the set of all those points of a plane at a distance less than or equal to a fixed distance (radius) from a given point.

#### Ring

(Botany) An annual ring.

#### Circle

Any shape, curve or arrangement of objects that approximates to or resembles the geometric figures.
Children, please join hands and form a circle.

#### Ring

(Mathematics) The area between two concentric circles; annulus.

#### Circle

Any thin three-dimensional equivalent of the geometric figures.
Cut a circle out of that sheet of metal.

#### Ring

(Mathematics) A set of elements subject to the operations of addition and multiplication, in which the set is a commutative group under addition and associative under multiplication and in which the two operations are related by distributive laws.

#### Circle

A curve that more or less forms part or all of a circle.
The crank moves in a circle.

#### Ring

Any of the turns constituting a spiral or helix.

#### Circle

A specific group of persons; especially one who shares a common interest.
Inner circle
Circle of friends
Literary circle

#### Ring

(Chemistry) A group of atoms linked by bonds that may be represented graphically in polygonal form. Also called closed chain.

#### Circle

The orbit of an astronomical body.

#### Ring

The sound created by a bell or another sonorous vibrating object.

#### Circle

(cricket) A line comprising two semicircles of 30 yards radius centred on the wickets joined by straight lines parallel to the pitch used to enforce field restrictions in a one-day match.

#### Ring

A loud sound, especially one that is repeated or continued.

#### Circle

(Wicca) A ritual circle that is cast three times deosil and closes three times widdershins either in the air with a wand or literally with stones or other items used for worship.

#### Ring

A telephone call
Give me a ring when you have time.

#### Ring

A suggestion of a particular quality
His offer has a suspicious ring.

#### Circle

(obsolete) Compass; circuit; enclosure.

A set of bells.

#### Circle

(astronomy) An instrument of observation, whose graduated limb consists of an entire circle. When fixed to a wall in an observatory, it is called a mural circle; when mounted with a telescope on an axis and in Y's, in the plane of the meridian, a meridian or transit circle; when involving the principle of reflection, like the sextant, a reflecting circle; and when that of repeating an angle several times continuously along the graduated limb, a repeating circle.

#### Ring

The act or an instance of sounding a bell.

#### Circle

A series ending where it begins, and repeating itself.

#### Ring

To surround with or as if with a ring; encircle
Guests ringed the coffee table.

#### Circle

(logic) A form of argument in which two or more unproved statements are used to prove each other; inconclusive reasoning.

#### Ring

To form into a ring or rings.

#### Circle

Indirect form of words; circumlocution.

#### Ring

To ornament or supply with a ring or rings
Ringed the door knocker with a wreath of holly.

#### Circle

A territorial division or district.
The ten Circles of the Holy Roman Empire were those principalities or provinces which had seats in the German Diet.

#### Ring

To remove a circular strip of bark around the circumference of (a tree trunk or branch); girdle.

#### Circle

(in the plural) A bagginess of the skin below the eyes from lack of sleep.
After working all night, she had circles under her eyes.

#### Ring

To put a ring in the nose of (an animal).

#### Circle

(transitive) To travel around along a curved path.
The wolves circled the herd of deer.

#### Ring

To hem in (animals) by riding in a circle around them.

#### Circle

(transitive) To surround.
A high fence circles the enclosure.

#### Ring

(Games) To toss a ring over (a peg), as in horseshoes.

#### Circle

(transitive) To place or mark a circle around.
Circle the jobs that you are interested in applying for.

#### Ring

To form a ring or rings.

#### Circle

(intransitive) To travel in circles.

#### Ring

To move, run, or fly in a spiral or circular course.

#### Circle

A plane figure, bounded by a single curve line called its circumference, every part of which is equally distant from a point within it, called the center.

#### Ring

To give forth a clear resonant sound.

#### Circle

The line that bounds such a figure; a circumference; a ring.

#### Ring

To cause something to ring.

#### Circle

An instrument of observation, the graduated limb of which consists of an entire circle.

#### Ring

To sound a bell in order to summon someone
I'll ring for the maid.

#### Circle

A round body; a sphere; an orb.
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth.

#### Ring

To have a sound or character suggestive of a particular quality
A story that rings true.

#### Circle

Compass; circuit; inclosure.
In the circle of this forest.

#### Ring

To be filled with sound; resound
The room rang with the children's laughter.

#### Circle

A company assembled, or conceived to assemble, about a central point of interest, or bound by a common tie; a class or division of society; a coterie; a set.
As his name gradually became known, the circle of his acquaintance widened.

#### Ring

To hear a persistent humming or buzzing
My ears were ringing from the sound of the blast.

#### Circle

A circular group of persons; a ring.

#### Ring

To be filled with talk or rumor
The whole town rang with the bad news.

#### Circle

A series ending where it begins, and repeating itself.
Thus in a circle runs the peasant's pain.

#### Ring

To cause (a bell, for example) to ring.

#### Circle

A form of argument in which two or more unproved statements are used to prove each other; inconclusive reasoning.
That heavy bodies descend by gravity; and, again, that gravity is a quality whereby a heavy body descends, is an impertinent circle and teaches nothing.

#### Ring

To produce (a sound) by or as if by ringing.

#### Circle

Indirect form of words; circumlocution.
Has he given the lie,In circle, or oblique, or semicircle.

#### Ring

To announce, proclaim, or signal by or as if by ringing
A clock that rings the hour.

#### Circle

A territorial division or district.

#### Ring

Chiefly British To call (someone) on the telephone. Often used with up
She rang me at noon. Let's ring her up and invite her.

#### Circle

To move around; to revolve around.
Other planets circle other suns.

#### Ring

To test (a coin, for example) for quality by the sound it produces when struck against something.

#### Circle

To encompass, as by a circle; to surround; to inclose; to encircle.
Their heads are circled with a short turban.
So he lies, circled with evil.

#### Ring

(physical) A solid object in the shape of a circle.

#### Circle

To move circularly; to form a circle; to circulate.
Thy name shall circle round the gaping through.

#### Ring

A circumscribing object, (roughly) circular and hollow, looking like an annual ring, earring, finger ring etc.

#### Circle

Ellipse in which the two axes are of equal length; a plane curve generated by one point moving at a constant distance from a fixed point;
He calculated the circumference of the circle

#### Ring

A round piece of (precious) metal worn around the finger or through the ear, nose, etc.

#### Circle

An unofficial association of people or groups;
The smart set goes there
They were an angry lot

#### Ring

(British) A bird band, a round piece of metal put around a bird's leg used for identification and studies of migration.

#### Circle

Something approximating the shape of a circle;
The chairs were arranged in a circle

#### Ring

(UK) A burner on a kitchen stove.

#### Circle

Movement once around a course;
He drove an extra lap just for insurance

#### Ring

In a jack plug, the connector between the tip and the sleeve.

#### Circle

A road junction at which traffic streams circularly around a central island;
The accident blocked all traffic at the rotary

#### Ring

(historical) An instrument, formerly used for taking the sun's altitude, consisting of a brass ring suspended by a swivel, with a hole at one side through which a solar ray entering indicated the altitude on the graduated inner surface opposite.

#### Circle

Street names for flunitrazepan

#### Ring

(botany) A flexible band partly or wholly encircling the spore cases of ferns.

#### Circle

A curved section or tier of seats in a hall or theater or opera house; usually the first tier above the orchestra;
They had excellent seats in the dress circle

#### Ring

(physical) A group of objects arranged in a circle.

#### Circle

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

#### Ring

A circular group of people or objects.
A ring of mushrooms growing in the wood

#### Circle

Travel around something;
Circle the globe

#### Ring

(astronomy) A formation of various pieces of material orbiting around a planet or young star.

Move in circles

#### Ring

(British) A large circular prehistoric stone construction such as Stonehenge.

#### Circle

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

#### Ring

A piece of food in the shape of a ring.
Onion rings

#### Circle

Form a circle around;
Encircle the errors

#### Ring

(internet) webring

#### Circle

A round geometric shape with equidistant points from its center.
He drew a perfect circle on the board.

#### Ring

A place where some sports or exhibitions take place; notably a circular or comparable arena, such as a boxing ring or a circus ring; hence the field of a political contest.

#### Circle

A road or street that curves around a central point.
We drove around the traffic circle three times.

#### Ring

The open space in front of a racecourse stand, used for betting purposes.

#### Circle

A representation of eternity or wholeness.
The circle symbolizes unity in many cultures.

#### Ring

An exclusive group of people, usually involving some unethical or illegal practices. Category:en:Corruption
A crime ring; a prostitution ring; a bidding ring (at an auction sale)

#### Ring

(chemistry) A group of atoms linked by bonds to form a closed chain in a molecule.
A benzene ring

#### Ring

(geometry) A planar geometrical figure included between two concentric circles.

#### Ring

(typography) A diacritical mark in the shape of a hollow circle placed above or under the letter; a kroužek.

#### Ring

(historical) An old English measure of corn equal to the coomb or half a quarter.

#### Ring

(computing theory) A hierarchical level of privilege in a computer system, usually at hardware level, used to protect data and functionality (also protection ring).

#### Ring

(firearms) Either of the pair of clamps used to hold a telescopic sight to a rifle.

#### Ring

(cartomancy) The twenty-fifth Lenormand card.

#### Ring

The resonant sound of a bell, or a sound resembling it.
The church bell's ring could be heard the length of the valley.
The ring of hammer on anvil filled the air.

#### Ring

(figuratively) A pleasant or correct sound.
The name has a nice ring to it.

#### Ring

(figuratively) A sound or appearance that is characteristic of something.
Her statements in court had a ring of falsehood.

#### Ring

(colloquial) A telephone call.
I’ll give you a ring when the plane lands.

#### Ring

Any loud sound; the sound of numerous voices; a sound continued, repeated, or reverberated.

#### Ring

A chime, or set of bells harmonically tuned.
St Mary's has a ring of eight bells.

#### Ring

(algebra) An algebraic structure which consists of a set with two binary operations: an additive operation and a multiplicative operation, such that the set is an abelian group under the additive operation, a monoid under the multiplicative operation, and such that the multiplicative operation is distributive with respect to the additive operation.
The set of integers, $\mathbb\left\{Z\right\}$, is the prototypical ring.

#### Ring

(algebra) An algebraic structure as above, but only required to be a semigroup under the multiplicative operation, that is, there need not be a multiplicative identity element.
The definition of ring without unity allows, for instance, the set $2\mathbb\left\{Z\right\}$ of even integers to be a ring.

#### Ring

A family of sets that is closed under finite unions and differences.{{cite-book

#### Ring

(transitive) To enclose or surround.
The inner city was ringed with dingy industrial areas.

#### Ring

To make an incision around; to girdle; to cut away a circular tract of bark from a tree in order to kill it.
They ringed the trees to make the clearing easier next year.

#### Ring

(transitive) To attach a ring to, especially for identification.
We managed to ring 22 birds this morning.

#### Ring

(transitive) To surround or fit with a ring, or as if with a ring.
To ring a pig’s snout

#### Ring

(falconry) To rise in the air spirally.

#### Ring

(transitive) To steal and change the identity of (cars) in order to resell them.

#### Ring

To ride around (a group of animals, especially catle) to keep them milling in one place; hence intransitive, to work as a drover, to muster cattle.

#### Ring

(intransitive) Of a bell, etc., to produce a resonant sound.
The bells were ringing in the town.

#### Ring

(transitive) To make (a bell, etc.) produce a resonant sound.
The deliveryman rang the doorbell to drop off a parcel.

#### Ring

(transitive) To produce (a sound) by ringing.
They rang a Christmas carol on their handbells.

#### Ring

To produce the sound of a bell or a similar sound.
Whose mobile phone is ringing?

#### Ring

Of something spoken or written, to appear to be, to seem, to sound.
That does not ring true.

#### Ring

To telephone (someone).
I will ring you when we arrive.

#### Ring

(intransitive) to resound, reverberate, echo.

#### Ring

(intransitive) To produce music with bells.

#### Ring

(dated) To repeat often, loudly, or earnestly.

#### Ring

To cause to sound, especially by striking, as a metallic body; as, to ring a bell.

#### Ring

To make (a sound), as by ringing a bell; to sound.
The shard-borne beetle, with his drowsy hums,Hath rung night's yawning peal.

#### Ring

To repeat often, loudly, or earnestly.

#### Ring

To sound, as a bell or other sonorous body, particularly a metallic one.
Now ringen trompes loud and clarion.
Why ring not out the bells?

#### Ring

To practice making music with bells.

#### Ring

To sound loud; to resound; to be filled with a ringing or reverberating sound.
With sweeter notes each rising temple rung.
The hall with harp and carol rang.
My ears still ring with noise.

#### Ring

To continue to sound or vibrate; to resound.
The assertion is still ringing in our ears.

#### Ring

To be filled with report or talk; as, the whole town rings with his fame.

#### Ring

To surround with a ring, or as with a ring; to encircle.

#### Ring

To make a ring around by cutting away the bark; to girdle; as, to ring branches or roots.

#### Ring

To fit with a ring or with rings, as the fingers, or a swine's snout.

#### Ring

To rise in the air spirally.

#### Ring

A sound; especially, the sound of vibrating metals; as, the ring of a bell.

#### Ring

Any loud sound; the sound of numerous voices; a sound continued, repeated, or reverberated.
The ring of acclamations fresh in his ears.

#### Ring

A chime, or set of bells harmonically tuned.
As great and tunable a ring of bells as any in the world.

#### Ring

A circle, or a circular line, or anything in the form of a circular line or hoop.

#### Ring

Specifically, a circular ornament of gold or other precious material worn on the finger, or attached to the ear, the nose, or some other part of the person; as, a wedding ring.
Upon his thumb he had of gold a ring.
The dearest ring in Venice will I give you.

#### Ring

A circular area in which races are or run or other sports are performed; an arena.
Place me, O, place me in the dusty ring,Where youthful charioteers contend for glory.

#### Ring

An inclosed space in which pugilists fight; hence, figuratively, prize fighting.

#### Ring

A circular group of persons.
And hears the Muses in a ringAye round about Jove's alter sing.

#### Ring

The plane figure included between the circumferences of two concentric circles.

#### Ring

An instrument, formerly used for taking the sun's altitude, consisting of a brass ring suspended by a swivel, with a hole at one side through which a solar ray entering indicated the altitude on the graduated inner surface opposite.

#### Ring

An elastic band partly or wholly encircling the spore cases of ferns. See Illust. of Sporangium.

#### Ring

A clique; an exclusive combination of persons for a selfish purpose, as to control the market, distribute offices, obtain contracts, etc.
The ruling ring at Constantinople.

#### Ring

A characteristic sound;
It has the ring of sincerity

#### Ring

A toroidal shape;
A ring of ships in the harbor
A halo of smoke

#### Ring

A rigid circular band of metal or wood or other material used for holding or fastening or hanging or pulling;
There was still a rusty iron hoop for tying a horse

#### Ring

(chemistry) a chain of atoms in a molecule that forms a closed loop

#### Ring

An association of criminals;
Police tried to break up the gang
A pack of thieves

#### Ring

The sound of a bell ringing;
The distinctive ring of the church bell
The ringing of the telephone
The tintinnabulation that so volumnously swells from the ringing and the dinging of the bells

#### Ring

A square platform marked off by ropes in which contestants box or wrestle

#### Ring

Jewelry consisting of a circlet of precious metal (often set with jewels) worn on the finger;
She had rings on every finger
He noted that she wore a wedding band

#### Ring

A strip of material attached to the leg of a bird to identify it (as in studies of bird migration)

#### Ring

Sound loudly and sonorously;
The bells rang

#### Ring

Ring or echo with sound;
The hall resounded with laughter

#### Ring

Make (bells) ring, often for the purposes of musical edification;
Ring the bells
My uncle rings every Sunday at the local church

#### Ring

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

#### Ring

Get or try to get into communication (with someone) by telephone;
I tried to call you all night
Take two aspirin and call me in the morning

#### Ring

Attach a ring to the foot of, in order to identify;
Ring birds
Band the geese to observe their migratory patterns

#### Ring

To surround or enclose.
A fence rings the entire property.

## FAQs

#### Can a circle represent a group of people?

Yes, "circle" can metaphorically represent a group with shared interests.

#### Is every circle perfectly round?

Yes, by definition, a circle has all points equidistant from its center.

#### Can a "ring" denote a sound?

Yes, like the ring of a telephone or bell.

#### Do circles have sides?

No, circles are continuous and have no sides.

#### Is a hula hoop a ring?

Yes, a hula hoop is an example of a ring, being a hollow circular band.

#### Can "circle" also mean to go around something?

Yes, like "the plane circled the airport."

#### What's a circle's diameter?

It's a line passing through the center connecting two points on the circle.

#### Are all circles closed shapes?

Yes, circles are closed, continuous curves.

#### Are all rings circular?

Typically, yes, but some might have unique shapes with a generally round design.

#### Can a ring be made of materials other than metal?

Absolutely, rings can be made of wood, plastic, glass, and other materials.

#### Are engagement and wedding rings the same?

Not necessarily, they might differ in design and symbolism.

#### Is a tree's age determined by its rings?

Yes, each ring typically represents a year of growth.

#### What does "full circle" mean?

It means returning to an original position or situation after a series of events.

#### Can a circle symbolize infinity?

Yes, its unending shape can represent eternity or infinity.

#### Can "ring" also mean to call someone?

Yes, like "I'll ring you later."

#### Is a boxing ring actually circular?

No, it's typically a square; the term "ring" is traditional.

#### Are rings always worn on fingers?

No, there are also earrings, nose rings, and other types.

#### Can "circle" imply a repetitive cycle?

Yes, like "a vicious circle."

#### How is the radius of a circle defined?

It's a line segment from the center to any point on the circle.

#### Can rings have stones or gems?

Yes, many rings, especially jewelry, have embedded stones or gems.