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 latitudinal (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 The case has shined a spotlight on the wide latitude given to prosecutors to pursue convictions without the official scrutiny for potential civil-rights violations that police officers and federal law-enforcement routinely face. Laura Kusisto, WSJ, "Long Shielded From Lawsuits, Prosecutors Face Scrutiny After Fake Subpoenas," 5 Feb. 2020 These giant ursines range widely across the region and live year-round as far south as James Bay, which is at the same latitude as London. National Geographic, "Penguins don't live at the South Pole, and more polar myths debunked," 3 Feb. 2020 Utah Republicans have mixed feelings about Trump, giving the senator more political latitude to criticize the president and oppose his agenda than almost any other GOP member of Congress. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Romney fosters 2024 speculation with criticism of Trump during impeachment," 31 Jan. 2020 But Hasson appears to have been granted great latitude to execute Nazi orders on the ground. Sarah Abrevaya Stein, The Conversation, "Vital Hasson, the Jew who worked for the Nazis, hunted down refugees and tore apart families in WWII Greece," 21 Jan. 2020 This is in contrast to the longitude and latitude location tracked by several dating apps. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Butterfly wants to give India’s trans community a dating app that puts them first," 7 Jan. 2020 The winter solstice marks the moment in time when the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn, the circle marking the latitude of 23.5 degrees south. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "The Winter Solstice Is Almost Here," 18 Dec. 2019 By not doing things as long as a full-length symphony, there’s more latitude to look around for the program. Mike Giuliano,, "Columbia Orchestra will revel in ‘American Stories’ during Saturday night concert," 5 Dec. 2019 That prevailing, descending wind off the Rockies is what helps keep Denver’s climate dry and mild, at least relatively speaking compared to what the city’s altitude and latitude would suggest. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Here’s (meteorologically) why Denver’s roads are still covered in snow and ice," 2 Dec. 2019

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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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

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Latitude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for latitude


How to pronounce latitude (audio)

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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