A circus was a group of performing artists who put on shows involving exotic animals stunts, humor, and curiosities.
In 2267, in an effort to goad Spock into an altercation, James T. Kirk told him he belonged on a circus, not a starship, right next to the dog-faced boy. (TOS: "This Side of Paradise")
A circus could also be a metaphor for a chaotic, absurd series of events. Gillian Taylor was certain that there would be a media circus when George and Gracie were shipped out of the Cetacean Institute. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
While presiding over the hearing that would decide whether Quinn had a right to die, Kathryn Janeway warned Q that she would not have the proceedings turned into a circus. (VOY: "Death Wish")
B'Elanna Torres asked Seven of Nine if she remembered the way a particular Jefferies tube on USS Voyager looked before she turned it into a Borg circus. (VOY: "The Gift")
Citing Leonard and Roy as examples, The Doctor compared Reginald Barclay's workplace to a three-ring circus. (VOY: "Life Line")
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