[lon-ji-tood, -tyood]


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 confusedlatitude longitude
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for longitude

Contemporary Examples of longitude

Historical Examples of longitude

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for longitude



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 differenceSee latitude (def. 1)
astronomy short for celestial longitude

Word Origin for longitude

C14: from Latin longitūdō length, from longus long 1
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 longitude

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

longitude in Science



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.
Celestial longitude.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

longitude in Culture



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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.