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 Every effort was made to convince our leadership to give us the latitude to roll out personal protective equipment. TheWeek, "TSA whistleblower blasts 'gross mismanagement,' alleges agency's inaction 'contributed to the spread of the coronavirus'," 19 June 2020 The state legislature has given the governor wide latitude to make decisions during the pandemic and lawmakers have not taken steps to curtail his authority. Washington Examiner, "After Illinois State Fair canceled, communities brace for economic hit," 16 June 2020 As used by the department, the tactic gave officers wide latitude to detain suspects. NBC News, "NYPD is disbanding a unit that is the 'last chapter' of stop-and-frisk," 16 June 2020 By eroding concern for privacy, the terrorist attacks established the conditions that gave these companies the latitude to plunder personal data. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "Big Tech’s Pandemic Power Grab," 12 June 2020 Ordinary tort law gives the courts significant latitude to decide whether companies took reasonable steps to avoid harm to their customers and others. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The Internet’s most important—and misunderstood—law, explained," 10 June 2020 While setting general parameters, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act gives the Treasury wide latitude over how the money is to be distributed. Anchorage Daily News, "This Treasury official is running the pandemic relief fund. It’s been great for his family.," 2 June 2020 While setting general parameters, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act gives the Treasury wide latitude over how the money is to be distributed. Justin Elliott, ProPublica, "This Treasury Official Is Running the Bailout. It’s Been Great for His Family.," 2 June 2020 Guidelines for reopening nursing homes includes latitude On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance for relaxing nursing home restrictions. Kameel Stanley, USA TODAY, "Families still need care, but many are afraid of nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic," 23 May 2020

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

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Latitude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 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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