Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "great circle" [great circle]

  • A circle described by the intersection of the surface of a sphere with a plane passing through the center of the sphere. (noun)
  • A segment of such a circle representing the shortest distance between two terrestrial points. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "great circle" in a sentence
  • "In the plains of Sinaar, and a second time in those of Cufa, his mathematicians accurately measured a degree of the great circle of the earth, and determined at twenty-four thousand miles the entire circumference of our globe."
  • "The octuples under his command had steered toward their place on the rim of the great circle on the Herdmaster's map."
  • "The medjliss met early next morning, and this time in a great circle out of doors."