The modern era of the circus is inseparable from several names you may have encountered.
The nickelodeon was a new business, a novelty, something between a circus and a peep show.
He was fully part of the egregious Bush circus in the White House.
South Africa, France, Nigeria, and Greece were all eliminated—though we are certainly not done hearing from France's circus.
With Tebow, Sanchez, and all the drama surrounding the Jets, pundits are piling on Rex Ryan for turning his team into a ‘circus.’
He was not merely a big snake, I thought—he was a circus monstrosity.
The meeting was held in the vast auditorium of the circus Building, which was filled.
They were like a lot of children on the morning of circus day.
If Monsieur the Director of the circus comes now he will go in the special car.
Ask any circus man when he sleeps, and he will say, “In the winter time.”
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- "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.