Definitions for "Vertical circle"
A circle in the sky, running from the zenith, straight down, and perpendicular to the horizon -- and therefore, vertical with respect to the observer.
a plane perpendicular to the local horizon and passing through the center of the Earth. The "Meridian" is a vertical circle passing through the north and south points on the horizon; whereas the "Prime Vertical" is a vertical circle that passes through the east and west points on the horizon.
a great circle on the celestial sphere passing through the zenith and perpendicular to the horizon
with major surveying instruments, the graduated vertical table around which the sighting telescope rotates; used to measure the vertical angle.