I'm looking for an adjective which essentially means "of or relating to the circus." My context is:

As they stood in the doorway, taking in the circus-like activities around them...

But "circus-like" is garbage, can anyone suggest a good adjective to use in its place? Alternatively, I could replace the entire described noun ("circus-like activities") with something better. I suppose I could just called it a "circus" directly, which will probably be my fall back.

I'm not entirely oppose to making up words, but it would need to be easily comprehensible to the reader. I was thinking something like "circusian" or "circusean".

  • 4
    Since your question is one of "word choice and usage", it might get a better answer at English Language & Usage. (I am not certain about whether that means you should flag it for moderator attention or some other action should be taken.) "circus atmosphere" might substitute for "circus-like activities", though it describes general environment rather than the hustle and bustle of a circus.
    – user5232
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 21:28
  • Thanks, and noted. I've got a satisfactory answer from Craig, but in the future I'll pose these questions to the suggested site. Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 2:22
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    Straight-ahead word choice questions are clearly off-topic, here, but questions that deal with how to choose the right word are okay. Since the answer covers that last, I think we can give this question the benefit of the doubt. Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 11:53
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    I'm voting to close this question as belonging on English.SE. It cannot be move, but gives a wrong impression of what may be asked her, so I would prefer to see it deleted.
    – user29032
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 11:06
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on EnglishLanguage&Usage.SE
    – Secespitus
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 18:58

1 Answer 1


"Circensian" is a word, which means "of or relating to the Circus in ancient Rome", so you could potentially consider using that, but it likely doesn't really fit.

Since this is Writers.SE, however, I would fall back to Stephen King's comment that “The road to hell is paved with adjectives.” Why not simply describe the activities that are occuring around them? "circus-activities" is so incredibly broad that it's boring and meangingless. It's difficult to say really without knowing the full context of the sentence, but I suspect that describing the action would be a better option. There are jugglers, freaks, unicyclists, clowns, ring masters, men of strength, bearded ladies ... use the imagination, and make your text richer through showing.

  • Thanks, I think "circensian" will do fine. In this particular instance, the adjective reiterates what has already been "shown". But I get your point, and will keep it in mind. Thanks! Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 2:32

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