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Special names are given to geometric figures that lie on or inside circles. Among these geometric figures are arcs, chords, sectors, and segments.

### Arc

The arc of a circle consists of two points on the circle and all of the points on the circle that lie between those two points. It's like a segment that was wrapped partway around a circle. An arc is measured not by its length (although it can be, of course) but most often by the measure of the angle whose vertex is the center of the circle and whose rays intercept the endpoints of the arc. Hence an arc can be anywhere from 0 to 360 degrees. Below an arc is pictured.

The arc above contains points A, B, and all the points between them. But what if the arc went the other way around the circle? This brings up an important point. Every pair of endpoints defines two arcs. An arc whose measure is less than 180 degrees is called a minor arc. An arc whose measure is greater than 180 degrees is called a major arc. An arc whose measure equals 180 degrees is called a semicircle, since it divides the circle in two. Every pair of endpoints on a circle either defines one minor arc and one major arc, or two semicircles. Only when the endpoints are endpoints of a diameter is the circle divided into semicircles. From this point on, unless otherwise mentioned, when arcs are discussed you may assume the arc is a minor arc.

A central angle is an angle whose vertex is the center of a circle. Any central angle intercepts the circle at two points, thus defining an arc. The measure of a central angle and the arc it defines are congruent.

### Chord

A chord is a segment whose endpoints are on a circle. Thus, a diameter is a special chord that includes the center.