great circle

noun
  1. a circle on a spherical surface such that the plane containing the circle passes through the center of the sphere.Compare small circle.
  2. a circle of which a segment represents the shortest distance between two points on the surface of the earth.

Origin of great circle

First recorded in 1585–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for great circle

Historical Examples of great circle


British Dictionary definitions for great circle

great circle

noun
  1. a circular section of a sphere that has a radius equal to that of the sphereCompare small circle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

great circle in Science

great circle

  1. A circle on the surface of a sphere whose plane passes through the center of the sphere. The Earth's equator is a great circle on the sphere of the globe.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.