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

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 This lowers the air to ambient temperatures at altitude, which are around -200 degrees Fahrenheit. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "The Rocket Motor of the Future Breathes Air Like a Jet Engine," 26 June 2020 The full extent of the fallout – military, political, and economic – from the June 15 melee in the rugged Galwan Valley remains uncertain, as do the exact details of the high-altitude skirmish. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Behind deadly clash with India, a pattern of Chinese assertiveness," 19 June 2020 The aircraft traveled along the 118 freeway toward its destination of Calabasas and the pilot was flying at an altitude of about 1,500 feet, records show. Alexandra Meeks And Cheri Mossburg, CNN, "Text messages before the flight that killed Kobe Bryant appear to show pilot became disoriented in fog," 18 June 2020 The ambient light is maroon, the curtains closed against the high-altitude sunshine. Melissa Fay Greene, The Atlantic, "Can an Unloved Child Learn to Love?," 18 June 2020 For hours into the night on Monday, Indian and Chinese forces fought with fists, rocks, batons and clubs wrapped in barbed wire at an altitude of more than 14,000 feet in a remote part of the Himalayan mountains. Niharika Mandhana, WSJ, "The Deadly India-China Clash: Spiked Clubs and Fists at 14,000 Feet," 17 June 2020 The admiral, coronavirus litigation and high-altitude horseplay. Listen to Ike Morgan, above. Bob Sims | Rsims@al.com, al, "The admiral, coronavirus litigation and high-altitude horseplay," 17 June 2020 For the past two years, photographer Prasenjeet Yadav had tracked this male on foot and with camera traps in this high-altitude corner of northern India’s Spiti Valley. Peter Gwin, National Geographic, "Himalaya ‘ghost cats’ are finally coming into view," 16 June 2020 The air force commissioned it from the Lockheed Corporation in the 1950s as a reconnaissance aircraft that could fly above 70,000 feet—an altitude then presumed to be beyond the reach of Soviet surface-to-air missiles. Eric Tegler, Scientific American, "Famed U-2 Spy Plane Takes on a New Surveillance Mission," 10 June 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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Statistics for altitude

Last Updated

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Altitude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/altitude. Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for altitude

altitude

noun
How to pronounce altitude (audio)

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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