, usually abbreviated c.
), means "approximately" in several European languages including English, usually in reference to a date. Circa
is widely used in genealogy
and historical writing when the dates of events are not accurately known. When used in date ranges, circa
is applied before each approximate date, while dates without circa
immediately preceding them are generally assumed to be known with certainty. For example:
- 1732–1799 or 1732–99: both years are known precisely.
- – 1799: only the end year is known accurately; the start year is approximate.
- 1732 – : only the start year is known accurately; the end year is approximate.
- : both years are approximate.