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horse latitudes

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plural noun
  1. the latitudes, approximately 30° N and S, forming the edges of the trade-wind belt, characterized by high atmospheric pressure with calms and light variable winds.
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Origin of horse latitudes

1765–75; probably as translation of Spanish golfo de las yeguas literally, mares' sea; explanation of the literal sense remains uncertain, despite numerous hypotheses
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for horse latitudes

horse latitudes

pl n
  1. nautical the latitudes near 30°N or 30°S at sea, characterized by baffling winds, calms, and high barometric pressure
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Word Origin

C18: referring either to the high mortality of horses on board ship in these latitudes or to dead horse (nautical slang: advance pay), which sailors expected to work off by this stage of a voyage
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

horse latitudes in Science

horse latitudes

[hôrs]
  1. Either of two regions of the globe, found over the oceans about 30 degrees north and south of the equator, where winds are light and the weather is hot and dry. They are associated with high atmospheric pressure and with the large-scale descent of cool dry air that spreads either toward the equator, as the trade winds, or toward the poles, as the westerlies.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.