great-circle

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:
1585–95

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
great circle
 
n
Compare small circle a circular section of a sphere that has a radius equal to that of the sphere

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
great circle  
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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