In this minilesson, we will explore the world of circles. We will learn various parts of a circle like a diameter, radius, circumference, circles chord, tangent circles, major arc, segment, sector, and discover other interesting aspects of it. You can try your hand at solving a few interesting interactive questions at the end of the page.
One of the earliest inventions of humankind  the wheel is proof of our ancestors’ knowledge about circles.
However, before we begin, let's first understand the formation of a circle.
Try this simulation which shows how a circle is formed by the collection of points that are equidistant from the center.
In this short lesson, we will learn all about circles and their properties.
Lesson Plan
What Is a Circle?
Definition
A circle is formed by the set of points that are at a constant or at a fixed distance (radius) from a fixed point (center) in the plane.
The fixed point is called the origin or center of the circle.
The fixed distance of the points from the origin is called the radius.
Terms Related To Circles
Radius
Radius is the distance from the center of a circle to the boundary of the circle.
Let's refer to the circular park shown below.
A circle can have multiple radii as they all start from the center and touch the boundary of the circle at various points.
Diameter
Diameter is a straight line passing through the center that connects two points on the boundary of the circle.
Let's go back to the figure of the park.
We can see that \(AFB\) is a diameter.
We should note that there can be multiple diameters in that park, but they should:
 pass through the fountain (center).
 be straight lines.
 touch the boundary of the park at two points.
Chord
Any line segment that touches the circle at two different points is known as the chord of a circle
Referring to the park, we can see that \(PQ\) is a chord that shows where the play area starts.
Tangent in Circles
If a line touches a circle at a unique point, then that line is called a tangent line to the circle.
In the above figure, line \(L\) is a tangent line to the circle.
Secant
Do you know what is a secant line?
A line that intersects two points on an arc/circumference of a circle is called the secant line.
Look at the figure shown below.
The line\(l\) intersects the circle at two points, \(A\) and \(B\).
The line \(l\) is a secant line.
So, now you know what is a secant line!
Arc
An arc of a circle is a part of the circumference.
Segment
The area enclosed by the chord and the corresponding arc in a circle is called a segment.
Look at the following figure.
The region APB is called the minor segment and the region AQB is called the major segment.
Sector
The area enclosed by two radii and the corresponding arc in a circle is called a sector.
Look at the following figure.
The region OAPB is called the minor sector and the region OAQB is called the major sector.
Let's summarize the various parts of a circle with the help of the figure and table given below.
In a Circle  In our park  Named by the letter 

Centre  Fountain  \(F\) 
Circumference  Boundary  
Chord  Play area entrance  \(PQ\) 
Radius  Distance from the fountain to the Entrance gate  \(FA\) 
Diameter  Straight Line Distance between Entrance Gate and Exit Gate through the fountain  \(AFB\) 
Minor segment  The smaller area of the park, which is shown as the Play area  
Major segment  The bigger area of the park, other than the Play area  
Interior part of the circle  The green area of the whole park  
Exterior part of the circle  The area outside the boundary of the park  
Arc  Any curved part on the circumference. 
Formulas Of Circles
Let's see the list of important formulae pertaining to any circle.
Area of a Circle Formula
The area of a circle is defined as the amount of space covered by the circle.
The area of a circle depends on the radius.
The formula to calculate the area of a circle is given as:
Area = \( \pi \times r^2 \) 
Circumference of a Circle Formula
The circumference is defined as the length of the boundary of the circle.
The formula for the circumference of a circle is given as:
Circumference of circle = \( 2 \times \pi \times r \) 
Arc Length Formula
As seen previously in the article, an arc is a section (part) of the circumference.
Here, \(\theta\) is in radians.
The arc length formula is given by:
Length of an arc = \(\theta \times r\) 
Area of a Sector of a Circle Formula
The sector shown in the figure below makes an angle \(\theta\) (measured in radians) at the center.
The area of a sector formula is given by:
Area of a sector of a circle= \(\dfrac{\theta \times r^2}{2}\) 
Here, \(\theta\) is in radians.
Length of Chord Formula
The length of a chord can be calculated if the angle made by the chord at the center and the value of radius is known.
Length of chord = \(2r \sin\left(\frac{\theta}{2}\right)\) 
Here, \(\theta\) is in radians.
Area of Segment Formula
As seen earlier, the segment is the region formed by the chord and the corresponding arc covered by the segment, as shown below.
Area of a segment = \(\dfrac{r^2(\theta  \sin{\theta})}{2}\) 
Here, \(\theta\) is in radians.
Properties Of Circles
Here is a list of properties of a circle.
 Two circles can be called congruent if they have the same radius.
 Equal chords are always equidistant from the center of the circle.
 The perpendicular bisector of a chord must pass through the center of the circle.
 When two circles intersect, the line connecting the intersecting points will be perpendicular to the line connecting their center points.
 Tangents are drawn at the points where the diameter meets the circle is parallel to each other.
 Two circles are said to be tangent circles if they touch each other at exactly at one point.

The name ‘Circle’ is derived from a Greek word meaning ‘ring’ or ‘hoop’.

The diameter is the longest chord in a circle.

If the radius of a circle is extended further and touches the boundary of the circle, it becomes the diameter of a circle. Therefore, Diameter \(= 2 \times \) Radius

Circumference of a circle can also be expressed in terms of diameter as \(C=\pi d\)
Solved Examples
Example 1 
Do you like cake?
Most people do.
David bought a circular chocolate cake from his favorite bakery.
He cut it into two parts, but the portions could not be cut equally.
Can you identify the major segment, the minor segment, the chord, and the arc in it?
Solution
The smaller part of the cake is the minor segment.
The bigger part of the cake is the major segment.
The curve is the Arc.
The line which separates the cake into two parts is the chord.
\(\therefore\) The required parts of the circle are shown. 
Example 2 
John went swimming in a circular swimming pool.
After swimming, he runs one round along the boundary of the pool.
If the radius of the pool is 35 feet, can you find the distance that John ran around the pool?
SolutionTo find the distance that John ran, you need to know the circumference of the circle (pool).
For this, you need to know the value of \(\pi\) and \(r\), where ‘\(r\)’ is the radius of the pool.
Given:
 \( r = 35 \) feet
 \(\begin{align}\pi = {\frac{22}{7}} \end{align}\)
Using the formula, Circumference (C) \(= 2\pi r\)
\[\begin{align}C &= 2 \times {\frac{22}{7}} \times 35 \\\\ &= 220 \text{ feet}\end{align}\]
\(\therefore\) John ran \(220\) feet. 
Example 3 
You want to decorate your tabletop, which is in the shape of a circle, with a colorful sticker.
If the radius of the tabletop is 21 inches, find the amount of paper you need to cover its top surface.
Solution
Given,
 Radius of the table top \(=\) 21 inches
 \(\begin{align}\pi = {\frac{22}{7}} \end{align}\)
Using the formula, Area (A) \(= \pi r^2\)
\[\begin{align}A &= {\frac{22}{7}} \times 21 \times 21 \\\\ &= 1386 \text{ inches}^2 \end{align}\]
\(\therefore\) Area of table top \(= 1386 \text{ inches}^2 \) 
Example 4 
Identify the parts of a circle hidden in this wheel.
Find the radius, the diameter, and the circumference with the help of the given colors and clues.
Solution
Parts hidden in the wheel  Parts of a Circle 

\(OC\) (red)  Radius 
\(HD\) (green)  Diameter 
The Black boundary  Circumference 
1.  The radii of the circles are given as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 inches. Find the area of the shaded region. 
Interactive Questions
Here are a few activities for you to practice.
Select/type your answer and click the "Check Answer" button to see the result.
Let's Summarize
We hope you enjoyed learning about circles with the examples and practice questions. Now, you will be able to easily solve problems on the circles.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is a circle a polygon?
A circle is not a polygon because a circle doesn't have straight edges.
2. What are concentric circles?
Concentric circles are circles that have the same center.
The following figure shows two concentric circles with the same center \(O\).
3. What is the equation of a circle?
The equation of circle with center \((a,b)\) and with radius \(r\) is \((xa)^{2}+(yb)^{2}=r^2\).
4. What is a cyclic quadrilateral?
A quadrilateral is cyclic if its vertices are concyclic, that is, if all four of its vertices lie on a circle.
In the following figure, ABCD is a cyclic quadrilateral.
5. What is a major arc of a circle?
The major arc of a circle is the arc whose length is larger than that of a semicircle.