Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

longitude

play
noun lon·gi·tude \ˈlän-jə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd, British also ˈläŋ-gə-\

Simple Definition of longitude

  • : distance measured in degrees east or west from an imaginary line (called the prime meridian) that goes from the North Pole to the South Pole and that passes through Greenwich, England

  • : an imaginary line that circles the Earth at a particular longitude

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of longitude

  1. 1 a :  angular distance measured on a great circle of reference from the intersection of the adopted zero meridian with this reference circle to the similar intersection of the meridian passing through the object b :  the arc or portion of the earth's equator intersected between the meridian of a given place and the prime meridian and expressed either in degrees or in time

  2. 2 archaic :  long duration

Examples of longitude in a sentence

  1. a map of the world showing lines of latitude and longitude

  2. calculating the longitudes of different places

  3. The regions are on roughly the same longitude.



Did You Know?

The imaginary (but very important) lines of longitude run from the North Pole to the South Pole. Each is identified by the number of degrees it lies east or west of the so-called prime meridian in Greenwich, England (part of London). A circle is divided into 360°; so, for example, the longitude of the Egyptian city of Cairo is about 31°E—that is, about 31° east of London. The "long" sense of the root may be easier to see in some uses of the adjective longitudinal: A longitudinal study is a research study that follows its subjects over many long years, and a longitudinal engine is one that drives a crankshaft that runs lengthwise under a vehicle (as in rear-wheel-drive cars) rather than crosswise.

Illustration of longitude

Origin and Etymology of longitude

Middle English, from Latin longitudin-, longitudo, from longus


First Known Use: 14th century


LONGITUDE Defined for Kids

longitude

play
noun lon·gi·tude \ˈlän-jə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

Definition of longitude for Students

  1. :  distance measured in degrees east or west of an imaginary line that runs from the north pole to the south pole and passes through Greenwich, England




Learn More about longitude


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up longitude? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).