[ lat-i-tood, -tyood ]
/ ˈlæt ɪˌtud, -ˌtyud /


  1. the angular distance north or south from the equator of a point on the earth's surface, measured on the meridian of the point.
  2. a place or region as marked by this distance.
freedom from narrow restrictions; freedom of action, opinion, etc.: He allowed his children a fair amount of latitude.
Photography. the ability of an emulsion to record the brightness values of a subject in their true proportion to one another, expressed as the ratio of the amount of brightness in the darkest possible value to the amount of brightness in the brightest: a latitude of 1 to 128.

Origin of latitude

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin lātitūdō breadth, equivalent to lāt(us) broad + -i- -i- + -tūdō -tude
Can be confusedlatitude longitude Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for latitude

British Dictionary definitions for latitude


/ (ˈlætɪˌtjuːd) /


  1. an angular distance in degrees north or south of the equator (latitude 0°), equal to the angle subtended at the centre of the globe by the meridian between the equator and the point in question
  2. (often plural) a region considered with regard to its distance from the equatorSee longitude (def. 1)
scope for freedom of action, thought, etc; freedom from restrictionhis parents gave him a great deal of latitude
photog the range of exposure over which a photographic emulsion gives an acceptable negative
astronomy See celestial latitude
Derived Formslatitudinal, adjectivelatitudinally, adverb

Word Origin for latitude

C14: from Latin lātitūdō, from lātus broad
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

Word Origin and History for latitude



late 14c., "breadth," from Old French latitude (13c.) and directly from Latin latitudo "breadth, width, extent, size," from latus "wide," from PIE root *stele- "to spread" (cf. Old Church Slavonic steljo "to spread out," Armenian lain "broad"). Geographical sense also is from late 14c., literally "breadth" of a map of the known world. Figurative sense of "allowable degree of variation" is early 15c. Related: Latitudinal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for latitude


[ lătĭ-tōōd′ ]

A measure of relative position north or south on the Earth's surface, measured in degrees from the equator, which has a latitude of 0°, with the poles having a latitude of 90° north and south. The distance of a degree of latitude is about 69 statute miles or 60 nautical miles (111 km). Latitude and longitude are the coordinates that together identify all positions on the Earth's surface. Compare longitude.
Celestial latitude.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for latitude


The measurement, in degrees, of a place's distance north or south of the equator. (Compare longitude.)

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