al·ti·tude | \ˈal-tə-ˌtüd 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-dᵊn-əl, -ˈtyü- \ adjective
altitudinous \-dᵊn-əs \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for altitude


elevation, eminence, height, highland, hill, hump, mound, prominence, rise, upland



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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

The rocket accelerates the weapon to speeds where the scramjet can take over, and to such a high altitude that the weapon glides back down to the target at hypersonic speeds. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Air Force Is Pushing for a Hypersonic Strike Weapon," 11 June 2018 Just 21 minutes later, two unarmed U.S. drones arrived overhead and established contact with the team, and after another seven minutes, two French Mirage aircraft screamed across the sky at a low altitude, in a show of force to frighten the enemy. Lolita C. Baldor, Fox News, "New Niger video shows harrowing escape of US forces," 17 May 2018 The windshield was blown off at a 10,000-meter-high altitude. Bard Wilkinson, CNN, "Co-pilot sucked halfway out of cockpit on Chinese flight," 15 May 2018 Their findings: the jet that sprayed VX gas had experienced a malfunction in its delivery tanks and had accidentally released the gas at a much higher altitude than intended, allowing it to be blown far from the testing grounds. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "How the Death of 6,000 Sheep Spurred the American Debate on Chemical Weapons," 9 Apr. 2018 Adding to the difficulty is the fact that painted lady butterflies can fly at a much higher altitude than other insects, according to Rebecca Simmons, an entomologist at the University of North Dakota. National Geographic, "This Tiny Butterfly Can Fly a Record 2,500 Miles at a Time," 13 Mar. 2018 The crash was particularly disappointing and surprising, since the company’s first rocket launch successfully reached an altitude of 100km (62 miles) before failure. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Japan's Latest Attempt at Private Spaceflight Fails on Liftoff," 1 July 2018 One of Central America’s most active volcanos, the volcano reaches an altitude of 12,346 feet above sea level at its peak. Sonia Perez D.,, "Death toll in Guatemala volcano eruption now at 25," 4 June 2018 The conical Volcan de Fuego reaches an altitude of 12,346 feet above sea level at its peak. NBC News, "At least 7 killed, 20 hurt by erupting volcano in Guatemala," 4 June 2018

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, from Latin altitudo height, depth, from altus high, deep — more at old

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Phrases Related to altitude

at altitude

cruising altitude

Statistics for altitude

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for altitude

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

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More Definitions for altitude



English Language Learners Definition of altitude

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


al·ti·tude | \ˈal-tə-ˌtüd, -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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Comments on altitude

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lying above or upon

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