lat·i·tude | \ˈla-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

Definition of latitude 

1 archaic : extent or distance from side to side : width

2 : 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 : angular distance of a celestial body from the ecliptic

c : a region or locality as marked by its latitude

3a : scope, range

b : the range of exposures within which a film or plate will produce a negative or positive of satisfactory quality

4 : freedom of action or choice students are allowed considerable latitude in choosing courses

Illustration of latitude

Illustration of latitude

latitude 2a: hemisphere marked with parallels of latitude

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from latitude

latitudinal \ˌla-tə-ˈtüd-nəl, -ˈtyüd-; -ˈtü-də-nəl, -ˈtyü- \ adjective
latitudinally adverb

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Like Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, Judge Kavanaugh has questioned whether courts are giving administrative agencies too much latitude in disputes over statutory interpretation. Jacob Gershman, WSJ, "Brett Kavanaugh Has Shown Deep Skepticism of Regulatory State," 9 July 2018 Federal law gives energy companies wide latitude in local disputes. Jon Chesto,, "Energy giant sues Weymouth over pipeline station, saying federal law overrides zoning," 6 May 2018 But those reports gave the president wide latitude to set or reject the tariffs. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Trump's plan for steel, aluminum tariffs could hurt automakers," 1 Mar. 2018 Courts have cited Chevron deference, as this doctrine is known, to grant wide latitude to regulatory agencies, from the EPA to the Department of Labor and the Federal Communications Commission. Greg Ip, WSJ, "The Supreme Court Won’t Stop Executive Overreach," 11 July 2018 During that time, Google pinged my latitude and longitude more than 20,000 times. Will Flannigan, azcentral, "What Google knows about me (and probably you, too)," 7 Apr. 2018 Late Monday evening, prosecutors in the Russia probe revealed Rosenstein has granted the special counsel's office wide latitude to investigate former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's connections to Russian government officials. Laura Jarrett, CNN, "Rosenstein gets new top deputy for Russia probe," 3 Apr. 2018 One of the top recommendations championed by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation was granting local governments more latitude to focus on rental assistance. Mary Shanklin,, "State group supports affordable housing reforms," 11 Dec. 2017 But none of those works approach the latitude and depth of expression of the Dvorak. Alan Artner,, "In the heat, Moser, Grant Park Orchestra perform a delicate Dvorak," 30 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of latitude

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for latitude

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about latitude

Statistics for latitude

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for latitude

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

: freedom to choose how to act or what to do


lat·i·tude | \ˈla-tə-ˌtüd, -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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on latitude

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


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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