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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The four-mile route, which reaches an altitude of more than 6,000 feet, is now marked only by ancient cairns, piles of reindeer antlers and bones, and the foundations of a stone shelter. Tom Metcalfe, Scientific American, "Melting Ice Reveals a “Lost” Viking-Era Pass in Norway’s Mountains," 16 Apr. 2020 Often, though, that saturation is confined to a narrow band of altitude, and airplanes can find drier areas by moving up or down. Alex Davies, Wired, "Plane Contrails Have a Surprising Effect on Global Warming," 2 Mar. 2020 While traveling at an average speed of nearly 150 mph, Reffett was able to reach 1,000 meters of altitude in 30 seconds. Allen Kim, CNN, "A jetpack company just reached a major milestone in our quest to fly like Iron Man," 17 Feb. 2020 The screenplay gets outs of its own way and lets the raw power of altitude drive the movie forward - but not nearly enough. Mark Lieberman, Houston Chronicle, "Ballooning drama ‘The Aeronauts’ never achieves lift-off," 6 Dec. 2019 Unfortunately, the vehicle stopped well short of that altitude after a wobbly ascent and an as-yet undetermined in-flight mechanical failure, NASASpaceFlight.com reports. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Russia plans a mini Falcon 9; Shotwell takes aim at Blue," 1 Nov. 2019 Atmosphere and ocean cells are three-dimensional and are stacked in columns to account for the effects of altitude and depth. The Economist, "Predicting the climatic future is riddled with uncertainty," 21 Sep. 2019 Chicago punter Pat O’Donnell took advantage of the altitude to average 50.4 yards net on five attempts. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Status Report: Time to sound the alarm in Denver?," 15 Sep. 2019 The body is trained to expect specific experiences in flight, and this combination of altitude and speed was wholly foreign. Lisa Wells, Harper's magazine, "Nightmares at 20,000 Feet," 10 Apr. 2019

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.

See More

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about altitude

Time Traveler for altitude

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for altitude

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Altitude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/altitude. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on altitude

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!