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[lon-ji-tood, -tyood] /ˈlɒn dʒɪˌtud, -ˌtyud/
Geography. angular distance east or west on the earth's surface, measured by the angle contained between the meridian of a particular place and some prime meridian, as that of Greenwich, England, and expressed either in degrees or by some corresponding difference in time.
Origin of longitude
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin longitūdō length. See longi-, -tude
Can be confused
latitude, longitude. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for longitude
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Plotted up track and took observations for time and longitude.

  • Barlee Spring is in longitude about 127 degrees 22 minutes East.

  • It's four minutes difference for every degree of longitude, you know.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • We were now questioned about our longitude, and whether we had a chronometer.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The Natchez are situate in about 32 odd minutes of north latitude, and 280 of longitude.

    The History of Louisiana Le Page Du Pratz
  • Or is it dinner, according to the difference of time and longitude?'

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • Hallo, helmsman,” he inquired, “what is your latitude and longitude?

    Hair Breadth Escapes T. S. Arthur
  • Halley was sent to the Cape of Good Hope to determine its longitude.

    The Book of the Damned Charles Fort
British Dictionary definitions for longitude


/ˈlɒndʒɪˌtjuːd; ˈlɒŋɡ-/
distance in degrees east or west of the prime meridian at 0° measured by the angle between the plane of the prime meridian and that of the meridian through the point in question, or by the corresponding time difference See latitude (sense 1)
(astronomy) short for celestial longitude
Word Origin
C14: from Latin longitūdō length, from longuslong1
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
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Word Origin and History for longitude

late 14c., "length," from Latin longitudo "length, duration," from longus (see long (adj.)). For origins, see latitude.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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longitude in Science

  1. A measure of relative position east or west on the Earth's surface, given in degrees from a certain meridian, usually the prime meridian at Greenwich, England, which has a longitude of 0°. The distance of a degree of longitude is about 69 statute miles or 60 nautical miles (111 km) at the equator, decreasing to zero at the poles. Longitude and latitude are the coordinates used to identify any point on the Earth's surface. Compare latitude.

  2. Celestial longitude.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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longitude in Culture
longitude [(lon-juh-toohd)]

A measurement, in degrees, of a place's distance east or west of the prime meridian, which runs through Greenwich, England. (Compare latitude.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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