a circle on a sphere, the plane of which does not pass through the center of the sphere.Compare great circle(def 1).
Origin of small circle
First recorded in 1870–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for small circle
a circular section of a sphere that does not contain the centre of the sphereCompare great 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