longitude

noun
lon·​gi·​tude | \ˈlän-jə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd, British also ˈläŋ-gə-\

Definition of longitude 

1a : angular distance measured on a great circle of reference from the intersection of the adopted zero meridian with this reference circle to the similar intersection of the meridian passing through the object

b : the arc or portion of the earth's equator intersected between the meridian of a given place and the prime meridian and expressed either in degrees or in time

2 archaic : long duration

Illustration of longitude

Illustration of longitude

longitude 1a: hemisphere marked with meridians of longitude

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Did You Know?

The imaginary (but very important) lines of longitude run from the North Pole to the South Pole. Each is identified by the number of degrees it lies east or west of the so-called prime meridian in Greenwich, England (part of London). A circle is divided into 360°; so, for example, the longitude of the Egyptian city of Cairo is about 31°E—that is, about 31° east of London. The "long" sense of the root may be easier to see in some uses of the adjective longitudinal: A longitudinal study is a research study that follows its subjects over many long years, and a longitudinal engine is one that drives a crankshaft that runs lengthwise under a vehicle (as in rear-wheel-drive cars) rather than crosswise.

Examples of longitude in a Sentence

a map of the world showing lines of latitude and longitude calculating the longitudes of different places The regions are on roughly the same longitude.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Lastly you'll be asked more specific questions like time, date, and even the latitude and longitude of the location. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "These Star Map Prints Are The Perfect Holiday Gift To Remember A Special Moment," 28 Nov. 2018 The data received are measurements of satellite-receiver-travel time and can be processed to obtain a ground station's exact longitude and latitude. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "How GPS Changed the Way We Think About Our Planet," 18 Apr. 2017 To help, just find your latitude and longitude (an easy task in this age of Google Maps and smartphone GPS), and, depending on your location, find the constellations Orion, Leo, or Crux. Kiona Smith-strickland, Popular Mechanics, "Citizen Space: How to Study the Universe Without Leaving Home," 10 Jan. 2014 Investigators have gleaned latitude and longitude data that lines up with information publicly disseminated by tracking networks, Mr. Utomo said. Ben Otto, WSJ, "Investigators Download 69 Hours of Data From Crashed Lion Air Jet," 4 Nov. 2018 Kunkel examined rainfall over a compact area — 14,000 square miles, a figure based on latitude and longitude squares — and larger areas such as 20,000, 30,000 and 80,000 square miles. Seth Borenstein, Fox News, "Florence is nation's second wettest storm, behind Harvey," 25 Sep. 2018 The Bassatine News website, an online newsletter put out by Cairo’s Jewish community council, gives the cemetery’s exact longitude and latitude, which would have been useful if my phone had worked in Egypt. Michael David Lukas, New York Times, "From Cairo to Kolkata, Traces of a Vibrant Jewish Past," 8 June 2018 One of those sources said the longitude and latitude returned by Xiao’s queries came within 100 yards of their then-current location. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Website leaked real-time location of most US cell phones to almost anyone," 17 May 2018 The lines that are already on the basketball are like lines of longitude. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "Figure Out Where You Are With Nothing But a Watch and Protractor," 3 May 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for longitude

Middle English, from Latin longitudin-, longitudo, from longus

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Statistics for longitude

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for longitude

The first known use of longitude was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for longitude

longitude

noun

English Language Learners Definition of longitude

: distance measured in degrees east or west from an imaginary line (called the prime meridian) that goes from the North Pole to the South Pole and that passes through Greenwich, England

: an imaginary line that circles the Earth at a particular longitude

longitude

noun
lon·​gi·​tude | \ˈlän-jə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

Kids Definition of longitude

: distance measured in degrees east or west of an imaginary line that runs from the north pole to the south pole and passes through Greenwich, England

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More from Merriam-Webster on longitude

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with longitude

Spanish Central: Translation of longitude

Nglish: Translation of longitude for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about longitude

Comments on longitude

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