great circle


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Related to great circle: Great circle route, Great circle sailing, Great circle distance
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great circle
a sphere with three great circles shown

great circle

n.
1. A circle described by the intersection of the surface of a sphere with a plane passing through the center of the sphere.
2. A segment of such a circle representing the shortest distance between two terrestrial points.

great circle

n
(Mathematics) a circular section of a sphere that has a radius equal to that of the sphere. Compare small circle

great′ cir′cle


n.
1. a circle on a sphere such that the plane containing the circle passes through the center of the sphere.
2. a circle of which a segment represents the shortest distance between two points on the surface of the earth.
[1585–95]

great circle

(grāt)
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.

great circle

- Any circle on the surface of a sphere that lies on a plane through its center, or a circle that divides into two equal parts—as the Equator.
See also related terms for sphere.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.great circle - a circular line on the surface of a sphere formed by intersecting it with a plane passing through the centergreat circle - a circular line on the surface of a sphere formed by intersecting it with a plane passing through the center
celestial equator, equinoctial, equinoctial circle, equinoctial line - the great circle on the celestial sphere midway between the celestial poles
ecliptic - the great circle representing the apparent annual path of the sun; the plane of the Earth's orbit around the sun; makes an angle of about 23 degrees with the equator; "all of the planets rotate the sun in approximately the same ecliptic"
equator - an imaginary line around the Earth forming the great circle that is equidistant from the north and south poles; "the equator is the boundary between the northern and southern hemispheres"
celestial horizon, horizon - the great circle on the celestial sphere whose plane passes through the sensible horizon and the center of the Earth
hour circle - a great circle on the celestial sphere that passes through both celestial poles
line - a spatial location defined by a real or imaginary unidimensional extent
line of longitude, meridian - an imaginary great circle on the surface of the earth passing through the north and south poles at right angles to the equator; "all points on the same meridian have the same longitude"
vertical circle - a great circle on the celestial sphere passing through the zenith and perpendicular to the horizon
References in classic literature ?
As soon as I had explained it to him he drew a line with his finger, showing a sea-coast far to the west and south of Sari, and a great circle which he said marked the extent of the Land of Awful Shadow in which lay Thuria.
Men came by hundreds, carrying short sticks only--for to be seen armed was death--and seated themselves in the great circle before the gates of the royal house.
But there was one man of their company, a young man and a tall, who held back and took no share in the work, but stood by himself in the centre of the great circle, fixing his eyes on the heavens.
Instantly the scene changed as by magic; the foremost vessel swung broadside toward us, and bringing her guns into play returned our fire, at the same time moving parallel to our front for a short distance and then turning back with the evident intention of completing a great circle which would bring her up to position once more opposite our firing line; the other vessels followed in her wake, each one opening upon us as she swung into position.
So they all joined hands and made a great circle round the high grass.
The others had gone upon errands he could not imagine, beyond the compass of that great circle of earth.
We may stop here, and die of asphyxiation when our atmosphere tanks are empty," replied Perry, "or we may continue on with the slight hope that we may later sufficiently deflect the prospector from the vertical to carry us along the arc of a great circle which must eventually return us to the surface.
And he went with them and made them form a great circle, open at one end where he stationed himself, and began to wish.
He saw the great sword swing through the arc of a great circle, gathering swift and terrific momentum from its own weight backed by the brawn of the steel thews that guided it; he saw it pass through the feathered skull of the Manatorian, splitting his sardonic grin in twain, and open him to the middle of his breast bone.
Great circles of colour were drawn about their eyes and lips, their breasts and abdomens, and from their clay-plastered coiffures rose gay feathers and bits of long, straight wire.
Great Circle Management operates 31 Krispy Kreme Doughnut locations and services more than 800 wholesale accounts with annual revenues of approximately $70 million.
Great Circle Marine manufacture, sell and service Great Circle Life Rafts and safety equipment under the Oceanmaster, Coastmaster, and Speedmaster brands, ranging in size from four to 65 person capacity.