altitude

noun
al·​ti·​tude | \ ˈal-tə-ˌtüd How to pronounce altitude (audio) also -ˌtyüd \

Definition of altitude

1a : the vertical elevation of an object above a surface (such as sea level or land) of a planet or natural satellite
b : the angular elevation of a celestial object above the horizon
c(1) : a perpendicular line segment from a vertex (see vertex sense 2a) of a geometric figure (such as a triangle or a pyramid) to the opposite side or the opposite side extended or from a side or face to a parallel side or face or the side or face extended
(2) : the length of an altitude
2a : vertical distance or extent
b : position at a height The plane lost altitude.
c : an elevated region : eminence usually used in plural
3 : a high level (as of quality or feeling) the altitudes of his anger

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Other Words from altitude

altitudinal \ ˌal-​tə-​ˈtü-​də-​nəl How to pronounce altitude (audio) , -​ˈtyü-​ \ adjective
altitudinous \ ˌal-​tə-​ˈtü-​də-​nəs How to pronounce altitude (audio) , -​ˈtyü-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for altitude

Synonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for altitude

height, altitude, elevation mean vertical distance either between the top and bottom of something or between a base and something above it. height refers to something measured vertically whether high or low. a wall two meters in height altitude and elevation apply to height as measured by angular measurement or atmospheric pressure; altitude is preferable when referring to vertical distance above the surface of the earth or above sea level; elevation is used especially in reference to vertical height on land. fly at an altitude of 10,000 meters Denver is a city with a high elevation

Examples of altitude in a Sentence

the air temperature at different altitudes Some visitors find it difficult to adjust to the city's high altitude. The plane lost altitude rapidly.
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Recent Examples on the Web Blue Origin’s flight to the edge of space—known as suborbital—will only last about 10 to 15 minutes, just enough time to reach an altitude to allow Bezos, his brother Mark, and four more passengers to float in weightlessness. Eric Niiler, Wired, 10 June 2021 The flight lasted for 15 hours, and the balloon reached an altitude of 117,300 feet. Olivia Munson, The Arizona Republic, 9 June 2021 This will be the first time Blue Origin has launched humans to space, beyond an altitude of 100 kilometers, making Bezos’ inclusion somewhat surprising. Jonathan O'callaghan, Forbes, 7 June 2021 Blue Origin is auctioning off a seat on its New Shepard rocket for the July 20 flight, an 11-minute trip to suborbital space that will reach an altitude of about 100 kilometers (62 miles). Richard Clough, Fortune, 7 June 2021 The maximum anticipated altitude of Ingenuity during its flight tests is approximately 16 feet, according to JPL. Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News, 5 Apr. 2021 The altitude wasn’t the root of any sickness the Bruins felt in the final moments at 5,345 feet above sea level. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 28 Feb. 2021 The 37,000-foot altitude that the Airbus A320 jet was cruising at would have been far too high for a hobbyist with a drone. Dallas News, 24 Feb. 2021 The highest engagement speed on record is Mach 1.3, and the normal combat altitude is around 10,000 feet, and below Mach 1. Kevin Brown, Popular Mechanics, 19 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'altitude.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of altitude

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for altitude

Middle English, "height, angular height of a celestial body above the horizon," borrowed from Latin altitūdin-, altitūdō "height, high position, downward extension, depth," from altus "extending upward, tall, high, extending downward, deep" + -i- -i- + -tūdin-, -tūdō -tude; altus going back to dialectal Indo-European *al-to- (whence also Middle Irish alt, allt "height, cliff," Welsh allt "hill, steep slope, cliff"), of uncertain origin

Note: Traditionally equated with Germanic *alđa- "old," and further to a verbal base *al- "nourish" (< Indo-European *h2el- "nourish, feed;" see old entry 1), on the assumption that the verbal adjective *al-to- "fully grown, nourished" leads to both "old" and "high." However, both the Latin and Celtic etyma refer primarily or exclusively to points situated above the ground, not human or animal growth, so such a connection is questionable.

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Time Traveler for altitude

Time Traveler

The first known use of altitude was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Altitude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/altitude. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for altitude

altitude

noun

English Language Learners Definition of altitude

: the height of something (such as an airplane) above the level of the sea

altitude

noun
al·​ti·​tude | \ ˈal-tə-ˌtüd How to pronounce altitude (audio) , -ˌtyüd \

Kids Definition of altitude

1 : height above a certain level and especially above sea level
2 : the perpendicular distance from the base of a geometric figure to the vertex or to the side parallel to the base

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