Circa (Ca.) – Definition, Meaning & Use In A Sentence

23.02.24 Definitions Time to read: 3min

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It’s common for people to search for the meaning of English words and phrases. However, they may end up using common words incorrectly without knowing their true definitions or origins, which can also result in misspelling them. This article aims to provide clarity on the term “circa” and its abbreviation “ca.” by discussing its accurate spelling and historical background.

Definition of “circa (ca.)”

“Circa” (abbreviated as “ca.”), from Latin “circum” meaning “around,” signals an approximate date or time. It’s used when exact details are unknown or to convey that the mentioned timeframe is an estimate close to the actual but not exact. This term is valuable for discussing ancient artifacts, historical documents, or events with undefined timelines, offering a way to express time flexibly when precise dates are difficult to determine, and functions as an adverb or preposition in the English language.

Use of “circa (ca.)” in a sentence

“Circa” operates grammatically in English as an adverb or preposition, indicating an approximate time or date. It is often used before a specific year or period to convey that the given information is an estimation.


  • The ancient city was founded circa 500 BC.
  • The construction of the Roman Colosseum began circa 70 A.D.
  • The wheel was invented by humans circa 3500 B.C.

How to spell “circa (ca.)” correctly

The word “circa” has its roots in Latin, where it is utilized as an adverb meaning “around” or “about.” In written English, it is commonly abbreviated as “ca.” The word was significantly adapted into the English language in the mid-19th century.

  • “Circum”— Latin meaning “around”

Correct spelling




Wrong spelling




One helpful way to remember the correct spelling of “circa” is to associate it with its Latin origin and meaning. Creating a mental association with the meaning and origin of the word can aid in avoiding spelling mistakes.

Synonyms for “circa (ca.)”

Using synonyms for the word “circa (ca.)” can help to expand language, improve communication accuracy, prevent repetition and redundancy, customize language for different audiences or contexts, and enrich the stylistic range in writing. The following sentences provide four different terms for “circa (ca.),” along with some illustrative examples.

Synonyms Examples
About The population of the city is circa/ca. 100,000.
The population of the city is about 100,000.
Approximately The event is scheduled for circa/ca. 3:00 PM.
The event is scheduled for approximately 3:00 PM.
Around The manuscript was written circa/ca. in the 15th century.
The manuscript was written around the 15th century.
Roughly The construction of the bridge started circa/ca. in the 1960s.
The construction of the bridge started roughly in the 1960s.


“Circa” means “around” or “approximately.” It is used to indicate an approximate time or date when the exact details are not known or specified.

People use “circa” to indicate an approximate time or date when the exact details are uncertain or unspecified. It is commonly employed in historical, archaeological, or other contexts where precision is challenging.

Yes, “circa” is an English word. It is commonly used in English to indicate an approximate time or date.

Yes, “circa” can be used to indicate that a given date or time period is approximate.

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