a circle on a sphere, the plane of which does not pass through the center of the sphere.Compare great circle(def 1).
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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