lat·​i·​tude | \ ˈla-tə-ˌtüd How to pronounce latitude (audio) , -ˌtyüd \

Definition of latitude

1 : angular distance from some specified circle or plane of reference: such as
a : angular distance north or south from the earth's equator measured through 90 degrees an island located at 40 degrees north latitude
b : a region or locality as marked by its latitude
c : angular distance of a celestial body from the ecliptic
2 : freedom of action or choice students are allowed considerable latitude in choosing courses
3a : scope, range
b : the range of exposures within which a film or plate will produce a negative or positive of satisfactory quality
4 archaic : extent or distance from side to side : width

Illustration of latitude

Illustration of latitude

latitude 1a: hemisphere marked with parallels of latitude

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Other Words from latitude

latitudinal \ ˌla-​tə-​ˈtüd-​nəl How to pronounce latitude (audio) , -​ˈtyüd-​ ; -​ˈtü-​də-​nəl , -​ˈtyü-​ \ adjective
latitudinally adverb

Synonyms for latitude


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Examples of latitude in a Sentence

a map of the world showing lines of latitude and longitude located at a latitude of 40 degrees north Madrid and New York City are on nearly the same latitude. islands located at different latitudes We weren't given much latitude in deciding how to do the job. The judge has wide latitude to reject evidence for the trial.
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Recent Examples on the Web However, this value is highly idealized and decreases with latitude and time of year. Vikram Mittal, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Had Duncan been born 20 years later, the latitude and longitude of his hometown might not have mattered. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 14 May 2021 Yet even as our country becomes safer, bored officers looking for action in small towns are getting more funding, equipment, latitude and entitlement. Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2021 Instead of addresses with street names and numbers, plus codes are derived from latitude and longitude, and they're displayed as numbers and letters. Grace Segers, CBS News, 20 Nov. 2020 But the independent researcher again notified authorities that Formosa’s search relied on outdated marks of latitude and longitude from old maps, and may have been directed at the wrong locations. Popular Science, 17 Nov. 2020 Although the pilot had noted the latitude and longitude of where the plane was when Sky was born, Hicks opted for a more traditional location. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, 13 Aug. 2020 States have wide latitude to use the federal money to make up for revenue losses during the coronavirus pandemic. Scott Bauer, Star Tribune, 11 May 2021 California’s law — which gives schools far less latitude — now has an effective date of Jan. 1, 2023. Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY, 8 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'latitude.' 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 latitude

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for latitude

Middle English, from Latin latitudin-, latitudo, from latus wide; akin to Old Church Slavonic postĭlati to spread

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Learn More About latitude

Time Traveler for latitude

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for latitude

Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Latitude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for latitude



English Language Learners Definition of latitude

: distance north or south of the equator measured in degrees up to 90 degrees
: an imaginary line that circles the Earth at a particular latitude and that is parallel to the equator
somewhat formal : freedom to choose how to act or what to do


lat·​i·​tude | \ ˈla-tə-ˌtüd How to pronounce latitude (audio) , -ˌtyüd \

Kids Definition of latitude

1 : the distance north or south of the equator measured in degrees
2 : a region marked by its distance north or south of the equator cold latitudes
3 : freedom to act or speak as desired Students weren't given much latitude in deciding what to study.


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